Thomas F. Peterson, Jr.

Thomas F. Peterson, Jr.

Retired Principal
Motion Picture Sound, Inc.

In 1957 Tom joined Preformed Line Products Company (PLPC), rising to the position of executive vice president. In 1966 he founded Motion Picture Sound, Inc., which he ran until 1987. The company worked on corporate and institutional films in addition to sound work for the entertainment industry. Tom’s eventual interest in scientific research and his ensuing patents can be traced to his exceptional collection of books on the history of electric and magnetic theory. Tom developed international patents for a method to measure a previously unknown permanent electric charge density in dielectric substances that was presented at the 7th Scientific Assembly of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, Buenos Aires, 1993. He also edited journal submissions by colleagues on Russian/Japanese earthquake prediction techniques.

In recent years Tom has returned to his roots at MIT, serving on the McGovern Institute Leadership Board and the Corporation Development Committee. He sponsored a graduate student whose thesis replicated the results of Tom’s charge measurement theory. He provided support for two doctoral candidates, studying the feasibility of using ferro fluids in the treatment of cancer. Tom established the Thomas F. Peterson, Jr. (1957) Conservator Fund in the MIT Libraries and is funding the Vail Access Project, which will restore and catalogue the rare books in the MIT Libraries’ Vail Collection. He funded the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Gallery and serves on the Museum's advisory board. Tom continues to support the important work of MIT's Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, most recently with a pledge that enabled MIT's involvement with Rosetta, a joint European Space Agency-NASA mission that will visit a comet in mid-2014. He also serves on the Visiting Committees of the Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine with Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. At the Koch Institute, Tom has provided critical support for nanotechnology research, with the Thomas F. Peterson (1957) Fund for Nanotechnology and the Peterson (1957) Nanotechnology Core Facility. In addition, he is one of the founding donors to the Bridge Project, a groundbreaking collaboration between the Koch Institute and the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.