Gunnar Fant 1919 - 2009
Gunnar Fant, a true pioneer in speech communication, formed the Speech Transmission Laboratory when returning to Sweden in 1951 after visiting the acoustics laboratory of MIT 1949-1951. During the visit he, Jakobson and Halle wrote the classic Preliminaries to speech analysis: the distinctive features and their correlates . In addition to speech analysis and synthesis, a major project during the first years involved language statistics and system evaluations. A substantial growth of the laboratory was encountered in the 1960's on the basis of American grants and later by increased Swedish funding. In 1966, when Gunnar Fant received his professorship, the laboratory had grown to a group of 20 people.