I am writing this article while there is international turmoil over the most recent immigration restrictions mandated by the new US president. Don’t worry—I am not going to praise or condemn this action. My point is that it highlights the importance of international communication, travel, and cooperation. Like so many fields, noise control is truly international, with work being done across borders around the world. If one goes back to 1974, at the start of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE) and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the United States (INCE-USA), there was a lot of focus on national noise control programs and regulations. It is quite impressive to see how extensive global programs in noise control have become.
With the NOISE-CON conference in June and the INTER-NOISE conference in August, there will be participation from around the world. While journalists cite the rise of nationalism in political parties and political rhetoric in various countries, it is important that noise control engineers continue to work cooperatively across national borders. In the last week, I have worked with or interacted technically with colleagues from the US, France, Germany, China, Japan, and Korea. This was not a special week—it is typical. This is the nature of noise control and the global community in which we all live.
It is important that we, the noise control community, recognize and support the international nature of our profession. To say it is a strength of our field may seem obvious or mundane to mention, but it is not. We cannot take global cooperation and technical interaction across political borders for granted. We cannot all attend every international conference—there are already too many conferences for many of us. However, we can support our colleagues and students who do. The I-INCE Young Professionals program and similar student support programs from INCE-USA go a long way in getting the newest members of our industry involved professionally, and in many instances helping them to travel internationally. Every one of us needs to support these programs, for they make the way for continued international cooperation and the exchange of technical information without regard to political borders.
Maybe it seems obvious, but global cooperation and communication is crucial to noise control and many other technical fields of work. Please don’t take for granted—and look for opportunities to support and facilitate—international conferences, journals, and other means of cooperation and communication. These activities are important to all in the profession and the future of noise control. I am sure none of us want to go back to the early days where every hamlet and municipality had its own noise regulations or ordinances, and no one knew what was going on in noise control across the next political border.
This recent immigration crisis is a good reminder of the cooperation and communication we take for granted and need to preserve.