Read the Special Issue, Click the Cover

Celebrates IYS 2020


Welcome to this special issue of Acoustics Today to celebrate the International Year of Sound 2020.

This special issue has been produced by the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) for students, teachers, and leaders in industry, government, and academia to showcase the breadth of sound around us. Sound connects people to the world; it is important for communication between individuals. However, it is also a critical source of information about what goes on in our environment. The field that studies sound, acoustics, is very diverse and encompasses a broad range of areas that consider how sound aids with communication, how we use sound to understand the world, and how to control sound so that it serves us and yet does not harm humans or animals.

The study of sound is the focus of the ASA, the largest scientific organization in the world dedicated to acoustics. The ASA was founded in 1929 for the purpose of generating, disseminating, and promoting the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics. Today, the ASA has over 7,000 members worldwide. It is a scientific and technical society of people from different backgrounds and vocations, all focused on advancing our knowledge and the practical uses of sound. You can find out more about the society on the back cover of this issue.

The purpose of this special issue of Acoustics Today is to introduce the reader to some of the different areas of acoustics. The articles were chosen from the more than 300 that have been published in Acoustics Today over the past 15 years to represent not only diverse areas of interest in the ASA but also to highlight some of the issues that might be of most interest to the readers of this issue. We invite you to explore the Acoustics Today website (; all of our articles are open access and can be downloaded at no cost.

The year 2020 was designated as the International Year of Sound by the International Commission on Acoustics (ICA) to highlight the importance of sound and related sciences and technologies to everyone. So, this special issue of Acoustics Today is just the tip of the iceberg. There are celebrations of sound all around the world in 2020, and you can learn more about the worldwide activities at The ASA is organizing events primarily in the United States, and many local events are being planned by the regional and student chapters of the ASA.

If you’d like to find out more about the ASA, check out our website at and read the back cover of this issue. And students and educators particularly should look at our outreach website,, that contains videos, easy to understand explanations, and many home activities about sound and acoustics!

I thank Arthur N. Popper, editor of Acoustics Today; L. Keeta Jones, ASA education and outreach coordinator; Kat Setzer, editorial assistant for ASA Publications; the authors of the articles in this issue; and indeed all the ASA Publications and headquarters staff for making this special issue possible. We hope that you enjoy this special issue. Celebrate the International Year of Sound!



Victor W. Sparrow President, 2019–2020


Learn more links:

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IYS 2020