Scientist Joie Jones, Presidential Advisor, Dies

Photo5Joie Pierce Jones, age 72, passed into the light on June 23 after several years of failing health.

As a high school student in Abilene, Tex., Jones won the National Science Fair using a rocket he built to measure radiation in the upper atmosphere. The rocket rose 52 miles, a record that still stands.

Jones consequently enjoyed the opportunity of working at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during summers while attending the University of Texas in Austin where he received his B.A. in math and physics and his M.A. in math. At JPL, he participated with teams that worked on the early moon and Mars projects.

In addition, he was an honors English and philosophy student and a gifted musician who played first chair cornet in the state high school band.  He would become a life-long scholar and avid reader.

Jones received his Ph.D. from Brown University with research in underwater acoustics. After graduation, he became interested in medical applications of ultrasound, research he pursued as a consultant at Bolt, Beranek and Newman, a technology company in Cambridge, Mass., as a faculty member at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, and since 1977 as a UC Irvine professor of radiological sciences.

Dr. Jones pioneered new developments in ultrasonic imaging and tissue characterization, acoustical microscopy, and non-contact ultrasonic imaging, and holds multiple patents.

In recent years, Dr. Jones explored alternative and complementary medical modalities, especially the relationships between Eastern and Western medicine.  Working with colleagues, he made landmark discoveries about the nature and mechanisms of acupuncture.  Working with pranic healers (that rely on the body’s energy to heal) in a laboratory setting, he conducted pioneering, controlled experiments that established the healing power of subtle energy.  He interacted with the Chopra Foundation, Andrew Weil’s program in Arizona, and the Friends of Health organization.

Dr. Jones also took leadership roles in multiple professional organizations.  In addition, he served on former President Jimmy Carter’s scientific advisory board and in a similar role for President Obama’s first campaign, advised the Obama administration on energy and medicine, and consulted for the Department of Energy on the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  He was honored to serve on a special committee under the Secretary General of the United Nations to investigate solutions for global warming.

Locally, Dr. Jones worked with Laguna’s Environmental Committee, served as president of the Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society, was the founding president of the UCI Theater Guild and the Orange County Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America, wrote a food and wine column with Becky, his wife of 48 years, and was a black-hat member of the California Wine and Food Society, serving for a decade as the group’s wine committee chairperson.

A gifted teacher, Dr. Jones was selected to participate in UCI’s “My Last Lecture” series.  He was a generous mentor who had the ability to teach effectively while respecting his students and inspiring their best.  His unbounded optimism, encouragement and wisdom made him a consummate advisor and life-altering friend.

He will be missed.

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