International News

ICA 2016 Buenos Aires

Logo ICA 2016 - 1

The International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) provides support for a number of specialist meetings and symposia each year, but the major event bringing together those working in all areas of acoustics is the congress held every third year. The geographical region given the opportunity to host the event is selected by the board eight years in advance, and the bids from the member organizations in that region are presented six years in advance. So, in 2010, the opportunity was given to the Ibero-American Federation of Acoustics to host the International Congress on Acoustics from September 5 to 9, 2016, (ICA 2016) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which endorsed the local organization to the Argentinian Acoustical Association.

It was considered important to take the event to the region where there is enthusiasm and growing expertise in a range of areas of acoustics. This is the first time that the major international congress on acoustics has been held in South America, and only the third time that it has been held in the Southern Hemisphere (the previous times being in Sydney, Australia, in 1980 and 2010). The total number of participants was over 800, and over 600 papers were presented. While the total numbers were less than those for a congress in Europe or the North Americas, the enthusiasm of the participants was a key mark of the Congress. All the sessions had good attendances, the morning and afternoon tea areas were crowded every day with active discussions, and many continued after the last presentation each day. What was also refreshing was that the closing ceremony on day five of the Congress was attended by almost as many participants as the opening on day one. The proceedings are freely available from the ICA website at, and views from the Congress are available from

It is particularly notable that while the ICA usually has a high proportion of students, ICA 2016 saw that students made up around 40 percent of the participants, reflecting the value of holding this event in the growing area of South America. The ICA has a tradition of providing “Young Scientist Congress Attendance Grants.” From its resources, the ICA awarded 34 such grants, which were selected from 66 applications. These were distributed as follows: USA (6), Brazil (5), UK (5), France (4), Australia (2), Canada (2), Korea (2), plus 1 each from Argentina, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. The support from the IUPAP for this Congress was very much appreciated as it allowed for more Young Scientist Congress Attendance Grants that were for applications from Latin America. A total of 51 IUPAP attendance grants were awarded, 12 of which were for those who had just graduated and the remainder for those still in school. The distribution was: Argentina (19), Chile (12), Brazil (11), Peru (3), Bolivia (2), Uruguay (2), Spain (1), and Venezuela (1).

The prestigious ICA Early Career Award is presented at the time of the congress, and for ICA 2016 the recipient was Professor Frank Russo from Ryerson University, Canada. The citation is “For outstanding contributions to psychological acoustics, particularly the theory of musical cognition and perception.” Frank is indeed a worthy recipient of this award. In addition to his outstanding research achievements, he has contributed substantially to the activities and management of the Canadian Acoustical Association. He presented a fascinating plenary lecture on “Understanding Music Perception from the Perspective of Oscillation and Resonance,” which was accompanied by audio demonstrations and that clearly showed the application of physics to the study of perception of sound.

The other plenary lectures were: Michael Vorländer (Germany), on “From Acoustic Simulation to Virtual Auditory Displays”; Chen-Fen Huang (China), on “The Perspective of Underwater Acoustic Tomography for Probing Ocean Currents in Shallow-Water Environments”; Barbara Shinn-Cunningham (USA), on “How the Brain Makes Sense of Complex Auditory Scenes”; and Samir Gerges (Brazil), on “Hearing Protectors: State of the Art and Emerging Technologies of Comfort and Uncertainty in Measurements.”

Jorge Patricio (Portugal) and Nilda Vechiatti (Argentina), plus their committee, were sincerely thanked for their substantial efforts for organizing this Congress. The value of participation in an ICA was recognized, and we left Buenos Aires with enthusiasm for the next ICA in Aachen, Germany, to be hosted by German Acoustical Society (DEGA) and held September 8–13, 2019, in what we hope will be declared the International Year of Sound.ACA-2019-Aachen

Marion Burgess, Past President ICAICAlogo1500x600

International Noise Awareness Day – April 26, 2017

The International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) was founded in 1996 by the Center of Hearing and Communication (CHC), and since then the day is commemorated annually on the last Wednesday in April. The International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) aims at raising awareness of noise on the welfare and health of people worldwide.

The European Acoustics Association (EAA) participates in the celebration every year by a series of events addressed to the whole society, with special emphasis to young people who are among the most sensitive persons of our society. These events have typically been organized so far by the EAA member societies.

For 2017, the EAA decided to coordinate a wider campaign in order to raise the interest of European citizens toward noise and its effects on the quality of life and health (the INAD 2017). EAA will collaborate with the European Commission (in particular the DG Environment) and the European Environment Agency to promote and coordinate specialized activities during the year. Targeted audiences include the EAA member societies, the European and national authorities, the noise associations, and schools, museums, etc., so that a wider public will receive the most accurate and scientifically correct information on noise effects.

EAA has also prepared a special web page ( with the aim to collect and disseminate all the information on the activities coordinated by EAA and organized either centrally by EAA or by the member societies and other related organizations.

In the United States, the Center for Hearing and Communication coordinates events. Their website,, has information on this topic as well.

International Year of Sound


The board of the International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) is working toward the declaration of an International Year of Sound in 2019 (IYS 2019) and is grateful for the support and encouragement thus far from the I-INCE.

Sound is an all-encompassing aspect of life, and an international year with a focus on sound provides tremendous scope to improve the understanding of the underlying physics principles, as well as the applications in science, technology, engineering, and the role of sound in the life of the people. The ICA believes that the International Year of Sound follows on well from the International Year of Light (2015), which is considered to be one of the most successful International Years. The ICA has received enthusiastic support from a wide range of organizations involved with various aspects of physical and social sciences, as well as from institutions related to health, culture, sociology, and education.

Sound is an integral part of culture and society, from the basic requirements for communication, awareness of our environment, and expression of our culture to sophisticated scientific and technological instruments. The proper use and feeling of sound is essential for the quality of life. In this respect, the control of unwanted sound is important for the future health and well-being of those that comprise our society

The International Year of Sound will enable coordination of international and national activities to achieve the following goals:

  • Improve the public understanding of the wide application of sound in our daily life.
  • Promote the relevance of sound to music and culture.
  • Identify and maintain soundscapes (the sound that is part of different environments) as part of cultural heritage.
  • Highlight the importance of the use and benefits of sound while controlling the unwanted noise.
  • Raise understanding of those in society with hearing or speech impairment.
  • Promote the importance of protecting hearing, especially in the workplace and in recreational activities.
  • Promote the important role that sound plays in medicine and the improvement that brings to the health of the community.
  • Raise the knowledge of the applications and impact of sound underwater.
  • Increase worldwide education with activities targeted on science and technology for young people.
  • Enhance international cooperation between learned societies, educational establishments, and industry.
  • Maintain these goals and achievements into the future beyond the International Year of Sound.

These activities will aim to stimulate the understanding and awareness throughout the world of the important role that the physical concept of sound plays in all aspects of our society. The declaration of an International Year of Sound in 2019 will provide a focus that will encourage transfer of knowledge on creating, controlling, hearing, and using sound in nature, in the built environment, and in all aspects of our life. The ICA committee, which was formed with the purpose to achieve the declaration of the IYS 2019, is in contact with UNESCO and expects the important decisions to be made in 2017.

Michael Taroudakis, President ICA, and Marion Burgess, Past President ICA