The International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration


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A Brief History of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV)

The origins of IIAV can be traced back to two congresses held at Auburn University, in the USA in 1990 and 1992, and perhaps even earlier to a conference, Sonically Induced Vibration of Structures, held at Liverpool University in the United Kingdom in January 1969. This earlier conference, organised by Malcolm Crocker and the late Kenneth Mulholland with the cooperation of the (then) British Acoustical Society, was attended by almost 200 people from 18 countries. Although there were no formal conference proceedings, the organisers produced a book of abstracts, and several of the conference papers were published in full in the Journal of Sound and Vibration. In those days, there were strong reasons to include papers on both sound and vibration in the same conference. So many problems involved both sound and vibration fields, including those with transportation vehicles, such as aircraft, spacecraft, automobiles, trucks, buses, and ships, and a variety of engineering structures, such as those used in machinery and buildings.

Between 1970 and 1990, many additional reasons came into existence for including both sound and vibration topics in the same conference. The first was the fact that modern theoretical approaches such as finite elements, boundary elements, and statistical energy analysis (SEA) were proving useful for both sound and vibration problems. Second, measurement and signal analysis techniques, and often the transducers and/or other experimental equipment and processors, could be and frequently were being used for both types of problem and for problems which combined both sound and vibration.

Thus in 1990 and 1992, Malcolm Crocker and P. K. Raju organised two conferences at Auburn University in the USA, with a similar theme to the Liverpool conference. These were the first and second International Congresses on Air- and Structure-borne Sound and Vibration. The first conference attracted 115 papers and the second 217, with authors from over 25 countries. A feature of the congresses was their keynote papers, normally six to eight at each congress, given by well known scientists or engineers. Per Bruel gave one of these at the first congress, and Sir James Lighthill gave another at the second congress.

The first and second congresses were characterised by the attendance of delegates from many different countries, including large delegations from Russia. Partial travel support for some delegates was provided by NASA and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for the second congress. As a result, 28 delegates from Russia attended the second congress with ONR support, including Nickolay Ivanov from Russia. Nickolay Ivanov subsequently invited Malcolm Crocker to collaborate with him in organising a noise and vibration conference in Russia, and this resulted in NOISE-93, the 1993 Conference on Noise and Vibration held in St. Petersburg with the attendance of about 400 Russian participants and over 300 participants from many countries outside Russia.

Many delegates expressed interest in seeing these congresses continue, and planning began for a third international sound and vibration congress. The Third International Congress on Air- and Structure-borne Sound and Vibration was held in Montreal, Canada and was sponsored jointly by Concordia University and Auburn University and organised by Richard Guy and Malcolm Crocker. This Third Congress was held in cooperation with the Canadian Acoustical Association, the Acoustical Society of America, and twelve other scientific societies around the world. The Congress was scheduled a few days after the meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts in June 1994, which enabled many delegates from around the world to attend both conferences. The Third Congress was fortunate in receiving financial support from the International Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., which enabled 27 Russian delegates and others to attend both the ASA meeting and the Third Congress.

This time, there were 264 papers on the programme, and it was increasingly clear that many delegates wished for the sound and vibration congress series to continue. Six keynote papers were presented at the Third Congress, including two by David Newland of Cambridge University, UK and Hanno Heller of DLR, Braunschweig, Germany. In order for the series of congresses to continue, it had become clear that a formal organisation should be created to sponsor future congresses and to encourage continuing collaboration between individual scientists and engineers in different countries.

During one evening in Montreal at the Third Congress in 1994, a meeting of ten scientists and engineers from around the world, including David Newland and Hanno Heller, met and agreed on the broad outlines of the international organisation needed to host future congresses. The organisation was to be democratic, with membership open to engineers and scientists from all countries and with its officers and directors elected by its members. Moreover, it was decided to approach Sir James Lighthill to ask him to become the first president of this new organisation.

In July 1994, Malcolm Crocker, Hanno Heller and David Newland met with Sir James Lighthill at University College, London and discussed the formation of the new international scientific society to be dedicated to both acoustics and vibration. It was agreed in principle to propose the formation of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration (IIAV). Sir James agreed to become IIAV\'s first President. It was also decided to approach the International Union of Theoretical and applied Mechanics (IUTAM) and to request the affiliation of the new IIAV to IUTAM.

In August 1994, Sir James Lighthill proposed to the IUTAM General Assembly meeting in Amsterdam in the Netherlands that the new IIAV should be considered for affiliation to IUTAM. The officers of IUTAM welcomed the suggestion for the formation of the new IIAV and requested a detailed proposal for consideration at their General Assembly meeting in Kyoto, Japan in August 1996.

The IIAV bylaws were written in March 1995 (and can be viewed on the IIAV website at The bylaws state that the Institute is to have a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary, and a treasurer. IIAV is also to have 20 directors. The Institute is to be comprised of individual members and of affiliated scientific non-profit societies and organisations. IIAV officers and directors are to be elected in annual elections in which all IIAV members take part. The officers and directors can be from any country. The Institute is to hold annual board of director meetings and scientific congresses in different countries. IIAV is to have a technical refereed publication.

The IIAV was formally incorporated in the USA in June 1995. Its articles of incorporation stated that the IIAV is to be a non-profit international scientific society. The primary objective of the Institute is to advance the science of acoustics and vibration by creating an international organization that is responsive to the needs of scientists and engineers concerned with acoustics and vibration problems all around the world. The IIAV\'s incorporation included the names of the founding officers: Sir James Lighthill, President; Hanno Heller and David Newland, vice-presidents, Malcolm Crocker, the executive director; and the twelve initial directors.

The formation of IIAV was announced to the world during the latter part of 1995 by articles in several publications, including the Journal of Sound and Vibration and the Sound and Vibration magazine, and by letters to numerous individuals throughout the world.

Some organisations asked for clarification of IIAV\'s mission and role and questioned why it was necessary to form a new organisation, when several national and international scientific societies and organisations already existed. In a long letter to the Institute of Acoustics in the United Kingdom in September 1995, Sir James argued the case for IIAV, working separately from but in collaboration with many national societies and other international organisations, including the International Commission of Acoustics (ICA), which was then itself affiliated to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). We quote from Sir James\' letter

"... Furthermore (and here I quote from the official Minutes of the Bureau meeting) the IUTAM Bureau proposed affiliation of IIAV to the forthcoming General Assembly. In consequence, IIAV may be expected to become firmly rooted within the general field of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. At the same time its globally international nature will be re-emphasized. An important special feature of IIAV, and one which makes it a little unusual among international organisations, is the availability of individual membership. Many acousticians have welcomed this feature as one which will tend to involve them ever more intimately in the work of the International Institute. I personally see this as a really valuable new development."

Later in 1996, Sir James Lighthill and David Newland attended the annual meeting of the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering in Liverpool, UK to explain the background to formation of IIAV and the need for a new organisation to include the disciplines of both acoustics and vibration. Sir James spoke so eloquently and convincingly for twenty minutes to the assembled presidents of fifteen or more scientific societies so that no one questioned his explanation after he had finished.

In June 1996, the Fourth International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV4) was held in St Petersburg, Russia. This was the first congress to be specifically sponsored by IIAV, and in recognition of IIAV\'s new role, the congress title was slightly abbreviated from earlier ones by the omission of the words "Air and Structure-borne". The technical programme included 316 papers. The first IIAV Board of Directors meeting was held during ICSV4. At this meeting, it was agreed that the Institute\'s refereed journal, the International Journal of Acoustics and Vibration (IJAV), would be established in the near future and published in Russia with Nickolay Ivanov managing the publication and printing of the journal. Hanno Heller was to become the first editor-in-chief and Malcolm Crocker to become the scientific editor, in charge of refereeing the papers submitted to the editorial office in the USA. Thus, the truly international character of IJAV and the continuing strong scientific collaboration between the USA and Russia were apparent beginning with the first issue of IJAV published in December 1996. The IJAV is now in its tenth year of publication.

From left to right: Nickolay Ivanov, Sir James Lighthill, and Malcolm Crocker; St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1996

The founders of IIAV. From left to right: David Newland, Sir James Lighthill, Hanno Heller and Malcolm Crocker; St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1996

Meanwhile, Sir James Lighthill and Malcolm Crocker attended the IUTAM General Assembly meeting in Kyoto, Japan in August 1996 and both made presentations to the assembly concerning the formation of IIAV. It was agreed that the IUTAM Bureau would consider the affiliation of IIAV later and IIAV\s affiliation with IUTAM was confirmed in 1997.

The Fifth International Congress (ICSV5) was held in Adelaide, Australia in December 1997 with 334 papers in the scientific programme. The IIAVs bylaws had stated that the first election was to be held when the number of individual members exceeded 100. This membership level was achieved by November 2007 and the first IIAV election was held. The election results were announced at the second Board of Directors Meeting, which was held during ICSV5 in Adelaide.

IIAV officers and directors attending the second IIAV board of directors meeting chaired by Sir James Lighthill in Adelaide, Australia, December 1997

The IIAV bylaws allow an honorary fellow of IIAV to be named each year. The first honorary fellow was David Crighton, Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University, UK. He was presented with the award at ICSV5 in Adelaide in 1997. Honorary IIAV fellows also now include Leo L. Beranek (USA), Yuri I. Bobrovnitskii (Russia), Per V. Bruel (Denmark), Heinrich Kuttruff (Germany), Richard H. Lyon (USA), Maa Dah-You (China), and David Newland (UK.) The IIAV bylaws also allow up to 10% of the members to be elevated to the rank of fellow. Thirty-four IIAV members have now attained that status.

David Crighton presents his lecture after IIAV Honorary Fellow award at ICSV5, Adelaide, Australia, December 1997

Leo Beranek receives IIAV Honorary Fellow award at ICSV7, Garmisch Partenkirken, Germany, July 2000

The next congress (ICSV6) was held in Copenhagen, Denmark in July 1999, and since than the congresses have been held annually; ICSV7 was held in Garmisch Partenkirken, Germany in July 2000, ICSV8 in Hong Kong in July 2001, ICSV9 in Orlando, Florida with NASA co-sponsorship in July 2002, ICSV10 in Stockholm, Sweden in July 2003, ICSV11 in St. Petersburg, Russia in July 2004 and ICSV12 in Lisbon, Portugal in July 2005. The number of papers submitted for each congress has continued to grow. Over 1,000 abstracts were submitted for ICSV12 in Lisbon, resulting in a technical programme of 700 papers and an attendance of more than 800 delegates. Each congress has also featured an exhibition of acoustics and vibration equipment and software.

A strong cultural program has become a feature of each ICSV congress. For instance, during ICSV9 in Orlando, the banquet was held in the NASA Kennedy Space Center Museum right next to the full-scale Saturn V spacecraft and some delegates were able to visit the hangar holding the Shuttle orbiter vehicles. At ICSV10 in Stockholm, a reception was provided by the city for all delegates at the Nobel Prize Hall and the congress banquet was held in the Museum holding the Vasa, the 17th century flagship of the Swedish Navy. At ICSV11 in St. Petersburg, delegates were treated to a canal tour of the city ending with a visit to the Menshikov Palace, (the oldest stone building in the city, built in 1710) and a banquet in an adjoining hall.

IIAV presidents serve for two years. Sir James Lighthill (UK) was the founding president of IIAV from its incorporation in 1995 until his untimely death in a swimming accident in 1998. Sir James was considered by many of his contemporaries to be one of the greatest applied mathematicians and physicists of the Twentieth Century.

From left to right, Hanno Heller, IIAV President Emeritus, Malcolm Crocker and Terry Scharton, First IIAV Treasurer at ICSV9 in Orlando, Florida

Hanno Heller (Germany) succeeded Sir James Lighthill as IIAVs second President and he has been followed by Colin Hansen, (Australia) Barry Gibbs (UK), and at present Jan Verheij (Netherlands). Franz Ziegler (Austria), currently president elect, will serve as the IIAV President from 2006-2008.

The ICSV congresses are now planned well into the future. The Thirteenth Congress (ICSV13) will be held in Vienna, Austria in July 2006. ICSV14 will be held in Cairns, Australia in July 2007, and ICSV15 will be held in Daejeon, Korea in July 2008. Applications to host future ICSV congresses are now being considered from eight other countries.

Nicole Kessissiglou chair of ICSV14 in a cable car viewing the rainforest, one of the attractions of the congress to be held in Cairns, Australia in July 2008

Cairns, Australia. The location of ICSV14 in July 2008

The Great Barrier Reef near Cairns, Australia

Semyung Wang, Secretary General of ICSV15, and Malcolm Crocker

Semyung Wang and Malcolm Crocker attend a working lunch at a planning meeting for ICSV15 in Taejeon, Korea

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