AC.3. International Commission for Acoustics - report 2002

Report to the 2002 General Assembly for 1999-2002
Berlin, Germany
October 7-12, 2002

Activities of the Commission since the last IUPAP General Assembly

The International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) held an annual Board meeting in Nice, France, on 2000 August 31. Plans for the 17th (Rome, Italy) and the 18th (Kyoto Japan) International Congress on Acoustics were reviewed. The Board also approved the plans to establish a Young Scientist Conference Attendance Grant Program and initiated its implementation.

The 17th International Congress on Acoustics was held in Rome, Italy, during 2001 September 2-7. The Congress was attended by nearly 1300 participants from 55 countries (more complete statistics have been published in the J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Vol. 111, pages 647-648, 2002). Papers presented at the Congress covered all major topics in acoustics. The scientific programme highlighted 4 Plenary Lectures, 27 Key Note Lectures, and included 70 exhibitors. A total of 30 early career scientists received a travel support grant to attend the 17th Congress under the new Conference Attendance Grant Program.

The ICA Board also met during the 17th Congress on 2001 September 2 and again on 2001 September 8. A major item for discussion was the choice of venue for the 19th International Congress on Acoustics. It will be held in Madrid, Spain in 2007.

The 2nd General Assembly of Member Societies of the Commission was held during the 17th Congress. Over 50 Delegates registered to attend the General Assembly from most of the Member Societies. In addition, a number of guests were also present, notably from Argentina and Chile. An important activity of the General Assembly was the election of a new Governing Board. As a result the new Officers of the ICA are:

Gilles Daigle, President
National Research Council

Suk Wang Yoon, Secretary General
Sung Kyun Kwan University

Volker Mellert, Treasure
University of Oldenburg

Lawrence Crum, Past President
Applied Physics Laboratory

The ICA continues to promote its Conference Grant Program for small (< 100 attendance) specialty symposia on acoustics. Support is now provided for a number of symposia each year. The ICA continues to maintain an International Calendar of Meetings and Congresses on Acoustics through the ICA Information Services. The Calendar is published simultaneously on the ICA web site and in the J. Acoust. Soc. Am. The ICA is growing. Three new Member Societies were approved for membership in Rome (Slovenia, Argentina, and Chile) while three additional new members were approved last year in Nice (Hong Kong, Portugal, and Turkey). We are encouraging Societies not yet members to apply for membership on an on-going basis. Currently the ICA is working on an International Awards Program in Acoustics with the hope of announcing the first award during the 18th Congress in Kyoto. The ICA Board will hold its next annual meeting in Cancun, Mexico on 2002 December 1.

It would seem that the ICA has now emerged from some difficult years. In the recent past, the triennial Congresses were not well attended for a variety of reasons. This situation was reversed in 1998 with a very successful 16th Congress in Seattle and again with the 17th Congress in Rome. Further, communication between the world's acousticians and the ICA had become difficult. Acousticians are organized within National Acoustical Societies that are generally not associated with the National Physical Societies of each country. In order to remedy this situation, the ICA applied for and was granted Affiliate status in IUPAP at the 1996 General Assembly. This has permitted more local autonomy to engage the direct involvement of acousticians worldwide and to be more responsive to our Members. It was encouraging to see the support for ICA activities during our General Assembly in Rome and to witness a near complete payment history of membership dues in the Treasurer's report.

Nonetheless, the ICA faces further challenges in the future. In 1974, the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE) was founded as a worldwide consortium of organization concerned with noise control, acoustics and vibration. Thus, I-INCE has a structured similar to the current ICA with strong overlap in membership. The I-INCE sponsors the INTER-NOISE series of Congresses on an annual basis. The I-INCE is not currently a member in IUPAP nor in IUTAM, but, there has been good cooperation between I-INCE and the ICA. On a number of occasions, I-INCE and the ICA have held coordinated congresses. In 1990, the first International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV) was held, independent of ICA or I-INCE activities. The parent organization, the International Institute of Sound and Vibration (IIAV) became an Affiliate Member in IUTAM in 1997. The ICSV is now an annual Congress. Despite efforts on the part of the ICA, there is essentially no cooperation between the ICA and the IIAV. Further, there are now a number of regional consortia, such as the European Acoustical Association, the Iberoamerican Federation of Acoustics and the Western Pacific Commission for Acoustics, which sponsor meetings that have increasing international character. Some large National Societies are doing the same by hosting joint meetings.

The ICA must further adapt if it wishes to maintain a leadership role in acoustics internationally. The ICA is following closely the reorganization of the International Commission for Optics (ICO) within IUPAP and within ICSU. However, regardless of the direction that the ICA takes in the future, the ICA would like to reaffirm its wish to retain a strong connection with IUPAP. A strong connection with and support from IUPAP is essential if the ICA is to be successful in achieving its goals.