AC.3. International Commission for Acoustics - report to chair 2001

Report to the Meeting of IUPAP Council and Chair
Mexico City
September 2001

The International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) has undertaken a series of initiatives that seek to improve communication between national and regional acoustical societies as well as between individual acousticians throughout the world; indeed, it seeks to act as THE organization to provide international leadership in acoustics.

A first step in this effort was to become an Affiliate Member of IUPAP, which occurred in 1996. This move was taken partly because of the nature of acoustics as an applied and broad discipline, but more so because our new organizational structure enabled it to interact directly with the national and regional acoustical societies of the world. Accordingly, we now hold a General Assembly every three years in which delegates from every country that has an acoustics organization can participate. At the Assembly, these delegates elect representatives to the Board of the Commission, elect the Officers of the Board, as well as have a voice in its activities. This involvement of national and regional societies in the Commission itself has enabled the ICA to engage more actively the world's acousticians.

Every three years the ICA organizes Congress. In the recent past, these Congresses were not well attended for a variety of reasons. In 1998, under our new status, we held our Congress jointly with a national meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA). This Congress was a very successful one, and because it was held jointly with a meeting of the ASA, it took on a special character of its own. In particular, over 50 countries were represented with over 2100 registered participants, as well as nearly 200 accompanying persons who participated in many of the social events. The technical program for the meeting listed approximately 1500 papers that were presented in approximately 15 simultaneous sessions during the 5 day meeting. Nearly 40% of the participants were from outside the US. A special feature of the meeting was 16 plenary lectures that covered most of the topical areas of acoustics. In addition, the Proceedings of the conference were published in both print and electronic format. These proceedings contained 1488 2-page regular papers and 16 6-page plenary papers. A fully-searchable CD ROM of the proceedings was provided to each of the participants.

An important aspect of the new organization was that the Congress was able to extract a small fee from each registrant to further the goals of the ICA as well as to support a modest secretariat. At the 1998 Congress, approximately US25,000 was generated to support this secretariat and to further the goals of the Commission. This money is an important supplement to the annual dues received from member societies and has been used in a variety of ways to facilitate international acoustics. Some of our recent activities are as follows:

  • We have responded to the requests of some member societies to increase the education topic coverage at our international congresses. For example, at the Seattle Congress, a total of 16 plenary lectures were presented by world-recognized experts in their respective fields that provided a thorough and comprehensive overview of acoustics as we approach the 21st century. For many attendees at this Congress, who do not have an opportunity to attend regular international conference, these plenary lectures provided an opportunity to catch up with the state of knowledge in acoustics in a number of fields.
  • We have established and maintain an ICA Website ( which contains information on all the activities of the ICA, as well as provides direct links to the sites of many of the members societies.
  • We maintain a calendar on our Website which lists most of the national and regional acoustics meetings of our member societies, as well as their other activities.
  • We have established a "Conference Grants" program that will provide up to US$2000 for the support of small specialty conferences on acoustics. We have already awarded several of these grants, giving groups "seed money" that can be used to supplement or leverage other funding applications. We gave considerable emphasis to those conferences held in developing countries whose scientists have limited opportunity to travel and to share research ideas with others.
  • We have developed a "Young Scientist Conference Attendance Grants" program that acknowledges the outstanding research contributions of acousticians, particularly young and early-career scientists. Accordingly, at our next Congress in Rome, we are providing travel grants to over 25 young scientists from a number of different countries.
  • We have begun formulating plans for ICA awards to recognize the contributions of acousticians around the world. We will report further on this at a future meeting.
  • Finally, in September of this year, we shall meet in Rome for the 17th triennial Congress in Acoustics. We shall have another General Assembly, elect new Officers and debate our new directions. We are pleased with our progress so far and look forward to an ever expanding role for AC3 in international acoustics

Respectfully submitted from the Board of AC3

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