Alan Jones

3717 Wildwood Drive

Endwell, NY 13760


Personal History

I was born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania and attended the Ridley Park schools for 12 years. In 1954 I enrolled at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania to study civil engineering. After one year I was selected for the Engineering Science program and graduated with a B.S. in 1958. Two days later I married the former Barbara Grest of Arlington, Virginia. The next year I earned an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics from Penn State and enrolled in the Engineering Sciences program at Purdue University in the fall of 1959. Our first child, Kendra, was born in 1960. A year and a half later Barbara earned an M.S. in Child Development. I finished my Ph.D. in November 1963. My thesis was on wave propagation in optical fibers. (At that time, fiber optics were used only for such things as viewing inside the body, not for communications.) In November 1963 I joined the Mathematical Sciences department of the IBM Development Laboratory at Endicott, New York. Projects I worked on included:

I took an early retirement in 1990 and joined the Geological Sciences Department of the State University of New York at Binghamton, also known as Binghamton University. At SUNY I have worked on digitizing our seismograph and writing educational programs on earthquakes. See below.

The Jones Counter

In 1971 I invented the Jones Counter which is used to measure virtually all running races in the world. There is a history of the counter on the Road Running Technical Council web site.

Educational earthquake and volcanic eruption programs

The programs Seismic/Eruption and Seismic Waves are part of the Geology, Gems, and Minerals exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. More information is available at my State University of New York web page.

In the 1990s I worked with CBS News to make modifications to the program so CBS News could use it on the air when covering earthquakes. It was used in November 1993 when the U.S. Geological Survey announced a rare earthquake prediction (which did not pan out), for coverage of the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, and a year later for the Kobe, Japan devastating event.

The August 23, 2011 earthquake in Virginia generated renewed interest in earthquakes at CBS News and I was hired again. By January 2012 many modifications to the program had been made and it was running at CBS News ready to aid in the covering the next large earthquake. Here is a photo of me in the control room at CBS News in November 2011. The program can be seen on several of the monitors.

The following simulates what could be broadcast if the program had been used for the December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Sumatra.

In 2015 I worked with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) to rewrite Seismic Waves for the web using the capabilities of HTML5. This program is available at:

Seismic Waves for the Web

RunScore, road race management program

RunScore is used to score running road races, triathlons, cross-country races, roller blade races, etc. More information is available at the RunScore Home Page.

Age grading running races


American Association of Blood Banks

I, along with Bob Kellogg and Vic Kruger were presented with the Dale Smith Memorial Award for the development of the IBM Blood Cell Separator and IBM Blood Cell Processor. These machines are still being manufactured by Cobe Laboratories, a division of Gambro, BCT. The award was presented on October 23, 2007 in Anaheim, California. At the meeting, we were told that many, many lives have been saved with these machines.

Photo: Kendra Jones

Running USA Hall of Champions

In February 2007, I was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions in San Diego for developing the RunScore program, inventing the Jones Counter, and developing age-gender grading tables.

Allan Steinfield, President of Running USA and Alan Jones, February 2007

(photo courtesy of MarathonFoto)

Sierra Club Award

In January 2008, Barbara and I were given the Lynda Spickard Environmental Award by the Susquehanna Group of the Sierra Club. This was for our work in saving and maintaining the IBM Glen which is now part of the Waterman Conservation Education Center.

Scott Lauffer, Chairman of the Susquehanna Group, Sierra Club presenting award to Alan and Barbara Jones

Last modified 2012/01/15.