PREPARED FOR NOISE/NEWS INTERNATIONAL, 2000 SEPTEMBER.
The Portuguese Acoustical Society (SPA) is an independent, non-profit and non- governmental organization. This society was conceived to be a specialized association intended to join together Portuguese acousticians and to promote and develop acoustics within the country?being simultaneously a forum to exchange information among its members.
Another purpose of the SPA is to serve as link between several areas of different scientific fields that have acoustics as a common subject. It also aims at promoting technical and scientific advances in acoustics throughout the country and to facilitate the recognition–both in Portugal and abroad–of activities developed by those basically working in acoustics and by those who are simply interested in it.
The SPA was established in the 1970s. At the time, some important initiatives were taken by the former group of SPA members with the purpose of encouraging technicians working in acoustics, to join and work together with a view to promote acoustics in Portugal. Additionally, some relations at an international level were established in order to support the desired creation of SPA. Among all these contacts and supports, special reference must be made to SEA (Spanish Society of Acoustics) and to its President, Prof. Andres Lara-Saenz, who, in collaboration with Prof. Pedro Martins da Silva–the first President of SPA–suggested the creation of a strong link between these two societies in order to co-operate within the administrative space of the Iberian Peninsula. This link has been implemented in various events that have been prepared in conjunction by the two societies throughout the years. In this context, mention must be made of the first international event promoted by SPA, which was held in Lisbon in 1978 with the theme Environmental Acoustics: 1st Congresso Luso-Espanhol. That event launched a continuous series of cooperating activities between the two societies, of which the latest one was the Congresso Acustica 98.
The SPA has organized various workshops and lectures on acoustics in a wide range of subjects. Within the scope of SPA activities, different monographs on acoustics have been published and an informative magazine has been issued whenever necessary.
Initially, environmental and building acoustics were the major fields dealt with by the society. Nevertheless, other areas of interest have emerged, as a result of the overall evolution. Nowadays, a wide variety of acoustic areas are covered, as well as the area of vibration.
The funding of SPA derives mainly from the membership fees. Nevertheless, the organization of seminars and congresses is also another fund source for the society.
The SPA is an affiliated society of EAA and of I-INCE. It is also a member of FIA (Ibero-American Federation of Acoustics).
SPA presently has 150 members, including individuals, students and associates. The SPA members come from all types of professions related with all areas of acoustics. Associate members are organizations that include consultants, manufacturers, engineering contractors, suppliers, designers and other companies.
It has been observed that the people are becoming increasingly aware of their surrounding environment, which leads them to have a growing concern as regards their quality of life. In this framework, the industry has recognized an increasing demand on quiet environments and reliable products to achieve such aims. In view of these challenges, the acoustics will play an important part in the next future, and the SPA will certainly play an important role in Portugal for all those who have the acoustics as their main concern.