Page 9 - Summer 2018
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From the President | Marcia J. Isakson
 I recently traveled to Sydney, Australia, to scope out the site for the Fall 2021 joint meeting with the Australian Acousti- cal Society (AAS; and the Western Pacific Commission for Acoustics (WESPAC). WESPAC is a con- sortium of Asian and Pacific acoustic organizations includ- ing the acoustical societies of China, Japan, India, Russia, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia. While in Sydney, I met with leaders of both WESPAC and AAS, toured the conference center and research facilities, and met with many Australian researchers (see photo).
Three factors were considered when making the decision to hold a meeting in Sydney. First, a poll was taken in each techni- cal committee. Twelve technical committees voted in favor of the meeting and one committee was neutral. Based on this poll, the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) Executive Council felt that the Australian meeting would be well supported.
Second, the Society-wide survey on the frequency of in- ternational meetings indicated a willingness of the mem- bership to engage in collaborative meetings outside North America. The survey, conducted in November 2017, showed a strong preference for changing the frequency of meetings outside North America to every 2-5 years. Of the 1,420 re- spondents, 1,281 voted to have an international meeting ev- ery 2-3 years (584) or every 4-5 years (697). This ratio was consistent across the technical committees. Last, one of the objectives of the strategic goal of member engagement and diversity is that we engage acousticians across the globe. Specifically, there is an enumerated objective to “maintain or expand international leadership in acoustics research.” In fact, 35% of our membership is international, with only 13% of those members coming from Canada or Mexico. We truly are a global society. We hope that through this meeting in Australia, we will continue to expand our global interactions and influence.
Collaborative meetings with international organizations such as AAS and WESPAC are not unprecedented. Current- ly, the ASA has long-standing relationships with two other international acoustics organizations, the European Acous- tics Association (EAA) and the Acoustical Society of Japan (ASJ). The relationship with the ASJ was the ASA’s first in- ternational collaboration. We have a joint meeting with the Japanese every 10 years in Hawai’i, the most recent of which
Dinner in Sydney (left to right): Brian Ferguson (Austra- lian ASA member), Marcia Isakson (president, ASA), Susan Fox (ASA Executive Director), Marion Burgess (AAS and WESPAC), Mike Burgess (Marion’s husband), Jeff Parnell (AAS), and Ray Kirby (AAS).
was in Honolulu in December 2016. The joint meetings be- tween the ASA and the EAA are on a nine-year cycle, with one meeting in Europe, such as the Paris 2008 meeting, fol- lowed by a meeting in the United States, such as the recent Boston conference in June 2017. I am hopeful that the meet- ing in Sydney in 2021 may start a similar relationship with WESPAC.
The upcoming conference will be held in the International Convention Center ( right on Darling Harbour ( The conference center is beautiful, with many amenities including state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The Darling Harbour area is also lovely, with a ferry to nearby attractions including the Sydney Op- era House ( For those who choose to stay in Australia before or after the meeting, there are tours of world-class vineyards in the nearby Blue Mountains (, and Uluru ( is only a short flight away.
During my Sydney visit, the AAS arranged technical talks and tours to highlight the acoustics research going on down under. Doug Cato from the University of Sydney spoke on his work in understanding the effect of ambient noise on migrating humpback whales along the east coast of the Australia. We toured the Australian Hearing Hub at Mac- quarie University ( and the anechoic chamber at the National Acoustics Laboratory ( Jorg Buchholz is conducting ground-breaking research in the chamber to understand hidden hearing loss. Finally, we were treated to a tour through Cochlear (acousticstoday. org/cochlearco), a biotechnology company that manufac-
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