Page 7 - Winter 2020
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From the Editor
Arthur N. Popper
    We have all heard the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” But how many of us are familiar with “Black Minds Matter”? I was introduced to this phrase by a close friend and was immediately
taken by its power and meaning. Indeed, I realized that both expressions are important and highly relevant to society and to the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).
To better understand these ideas, I would like to direct all readers to three very exciting and stimulating “Sound Perspectives” essays in this issue of Acoustics Today (AT). ASA member Tyrone Porter writes about the new and very important Committee to Improve Racial Diversity and Inclusivity (CIRDI) that he chairs. This committee will look at diversity in the ASA from many perspectives. They will also be leading efforts to increase diversity and help the ASA be more aware of diversity issues in STEM. In this essay, Tyrone sets the stage for the committee. He has also promised frequent reports for AT on its work. I also encourage you to read From the President on page 8 for additional information about this committee.
Next is an essay by E. K. Ellington Scott, a student who recently received the ASA James West Diversity Award. Ellington gives fascinating insight into his experiences as a Black STEM student, both as an undergraduate and in a doctoral program. I am deeply grateful to Ellington for his willingness to share his thoughts and experiences with us.
The third essay is by scholar, inventor, and former ASA President James West. Jim, in interview format, talks about his engagement with STEM issues as a Black scholar and a Black man over an extraordinary career. Jim has been instrumental in supporting younger Black scholars, and his essay highlights some of these endeavors. There is a longer version of this essay on our website under the tab for interviews with past presidents (see
Of course, most of this issue is devoted to articles on a variety of topics. In the first article, Sheila Blumstein discusses speech and aphasia. Sheila points out that there
are several different forms of aphasia and how these are related to particular brain regions.
André Fiebig then talks about the silence of electric vehicles and the need to have them make sounds for the safety of pedestrians. It turns out that deciding the right sounds to use and even understanding the parameters involved in making this decision are quite complex and interesting.
Several ASA meetings ago, I attended a special symposium on bat robots. The topic interested me so much that I invited Rolf Müller and Roman Kuc to share this work in AT. In this article, it becomes apparent that designing a robot that does all that a bat does when it echolocates is rather complex, especially considering that bats do extraordinary echolocation feats with a body and brain orders of magnitude smaller than any robot designed to do even some of the same tasks.
I invited Wei Qiu, William J. Murphy, and Alice Suter to write about kurtosis because I had gotten interested in the topic as a result of my own research and I was looking for a clear and authoritative explanation that would explore the topic. I am pleased that this article fulfills (and exceeds) my expectations, and I think it will be of immense value to anyone interested in noise and hearing.
This is followed by an article by Lauri Savioja and Ning Xiang that discusses using auralization in the design of room acoustics. Lauri and Ning provide fascinating insightintohowtheacousticsofaspacecanbepredicted and planned well before construction.
Actual consideration of design of the soundscape of a particular space, libraries, is discussed in an article by Gary W. Siebein, Keely M. Siebein, Marylin Roa, and Hyun Paek. The authors show how library design and the acoustics of libraries have changed over the centuries as the way libraries are used has changed.
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