The Acoustical Society of America

Prepared for Noise/News International, 2002 December.

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) was formally organized and held its first meeting on 1929 May 10-11 in New York City with a charter membership of about 450. The Society will hold its 75th Anniversary meeting in New York City, 17-21 May 2004. The present membership of approximately 7000 includes leaders in acoustics in the U.S.A. and other countries. The Society recognizes distinguished achievement in acoustics by a series of awards, including a Gold Medal, and Silver Medals in technical areas.

Two meetings of the Society are held each year for the presentation of papers in all branches of acoustics, both theoretical and applied. Papers are presented which are concerned with topics in the thirteen technical fields covered by the ASA. To assure adequate attention to these separate fields and to new ones that are developing, the Society establishes technical committees and specialty groups charged with keeping abreast of developments and needs of the membership in their specialized fields.

Membership and meetings have become more international over the years. ASA has held joint meetings with the International Congress on Acoustics, European Acoustics Association, Acoustical Society of Japan, Institute of Mexican Acoustics and the Federation of Iberoamerican Acoustics. Additionally, two joint meetings have been held with the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA.

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA) is published monthly with articles covering all aspects of research and engineering activities in acoustics. Its approximately 7000 pages a year also contain news items of interest, as well as book reviews, references to contemporary papers in acoustics, and reviews of acoustical patents and standards. In 1999 ASA began publication of the online journal Acoustics Research Letters Online (ARLO). In addition to the publication of JASA, the Society has been reprinting out-of-print classic texts in acoustical science and a monthly newsletter, Echoes. Members of the Society have for many years been involved in studies of noise, its measurement, its effects, and ways of reducing noise to improve the human environment. Papers on these subjects are presented regularly at Society meetings and published in JASA. A noise task group has recently been formed by the Technical Committee on Noise to increase the Society's participation in noise control activities. One outcome of this Task Force is the recent ANSI Standard on Classroom Acoustics.

From the Society's inception, its members have been involved in the development of acoustical standards concerned with terminology, measurement procedures, and criteria for determining the effects of noise and vibration. Each of four independent committees (S1 on Acoustics, S2 on Mechanical Shock and Vibration, S3 on Bioacoustics and S12 on Noise) is responsible for producing, developing a consensus for, and adopting standards in accordance with the procedures of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These are then published by the Society as American National Standards.

From its beginning, the Society has attracted members from various fields related to sound, including physics, electrical, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, oceanography, biology, physiology, psychology, architecture, speech and music. This diversity and the opportunity it provides for the interchange of knowledge and points of view is one of the strengths of the ASA. Throughout its history, the Society has been fortunate in attracting the interest and commitment of a large group of men and women who have served the Society and promoted the advancement of the science of acoustics.

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