IOA Blog

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The role of noise and vibration engineering in a sustainable economy.


Living sustainably involves meeting the needs in the present without compromising the needs of the future. This applies to social, environmental, political and economic domains. Environmental resources underpin social and economic standards with political ideologies seeking to find ways to manage these domains.

The role of engineers is to deliver technology which makes the best use of resource available to benefit humankind. Many advances in...


IOA has contributed to new white paper on healthy homes and buildings

The IOA has contributed to the All Party Parliamentary Group for healthy homes and buildings White Paper that was published on 24th October 2018, entitled ‘Building our Future – Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings White Paper October 2018.’

Extract from page 10 of the report as follows:

‘The Institute of Acoustics explained that there are many areas where the shared responsibility of different government departments can impinge on the...


International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

March 2018

International Women’s Day 2018 is a good time to reflect on the role of gender in our industry.

Headlines from Hollywood have highlighted extremes of ugly behaviour that still occur in the workplace, but we also have to tackle the less prominent issues of gender balance, responsibility and opportunities.

A recent poll of UK construction companies...


Draft excluders, part 2: what makes a bad report?

By Rodger Munt, edited by David Trew, Angela Lamacraft & Mike Lotinga, February 2018

Dr Rodger Munt FIOA is a retired scientist with 45 years of research experience. As a long-standing employee of the former Royal Aircraft Establishment, he led successive research teams where vetting of scientific reports for non-technical customers was routine. He regularly sees the reports issued to...


Draft excluders, part 1: what makes a good report?

By Rodger Munt, edited by Angela Lamacraft & Mike Lotinga, December 2017

Dr Rodger Munt FIOA is a retired scientist with 45 years of research experience. As a long-standing employee of the former Royal Aircraft Establishment, he led successive research teams where vetting of scientific reports for non-technical customers was routine. He regularly sees the reports issued to local...


Things that go bump in the night…

Mike Lotinga, October 2017. Thanks to Dan Pope for helpful comments.


The ancient Celtic pagan festival of Samhain was a time in which the doorways between the spirit-world and ours were thought to be traversed by dead souls, invited to enjoy hospitality in the homes of Gaelic folk, some dressed in costumes representing the spirits and receiving offerings for them...


Acoustics and music: a forgotten link?

Luis Gomez-Agustina, September 2017

It is well accepted and understood that acoustics is the physical underlying phenomenon and vehicle of music production, performance and composition. It deals with the aural interactions between the instruments, performer, listener and the environment where sound is produced.

This essential link between acoustics and musical performance, however, appears to have been ignored or taken largely for granted by...


Acoustics in the Edinburgh International Science Festival

César Bustos - August 2017

Earlier in March I had an amazing experience taking part in the Edinburgh International Science Festival. In the beginning I was a bit reluctant at the thought of committing myself to this type of extracurricular activity, as I’d had no experience working with younger pupils and, like any other young professional, I had heavy work-related commitments. But then I remembered reading a...


Dog, deer or Djokovic?

Mike Lotinga - July 2017

As the Wimbledon 2017 finals approach this weekend, it’s the time of year to revisit the annual debate: to grunt or not to grunt?

Tennis ‘grunting’ is a popular but controversial subject, such that it even has its own Wikipedia page. Maria Sharapova’s shrieks...


Getting Chartered

April 2017

View from the registrant: Mike Lotinga, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Our company recently held a ‘Professional Institutions Week’ in which speakers from various engineering and professional bodies gave talks aimed at introducing the benefits offered by institutions to those in early stages of their careers. I volunteered to give an account of my recent experience in getting registered with the...


Feel the noise: turning sound into touch

Adam Price, January 2017


One of the areas in which the IOA is doing a great job is in explaining to the world that acoustics is more than just musical or architectural in nature.  If you’re involved in acoustics then you’ll know that it’s a discipline that covers everything from bioacoustics to ultrasound imaging.

But even the well-informed may be surprised to find out how we’re using acoustics – and specifically ultrasound – at Ultrahaptics....


ISVR Challenge

Angela Lamacraft - November 2016

This autumn saw the Musical Instrument Scrapheap Challenge for first year students studying the acoustics MEng at the University of Southampton. The challenge: create a working musical instrument from items of scrap and a limited budget for essential materials. The criteria: design rationale, ingenious use of scrap parts, timbre, tuning, control of loudness, style and aesthetics, and presentation skills. The result: seven...


(Almost) All you wanted to know about consultancy – but were afraid to ask

Stuart Dryden – October 2016

On my first day in consultancy I didn’t even get a desk before I was despatched to join the company’s multi-disciplinary engineering team working in the client’s office on a new Wafer Fabrication Facility. As you might know (and I was soon to find out) this requires very low levels of vibration in the fabrication area and highly filtered laminar airflow provided by extremely large fans typically installed on the floor below....


Dispatch from Inter-noise 2016: Towards a Quieter Future

Michael Lotinga – October 2016

The 45th International Congress and Exposition of Noise Control Engineering landed with a splash in the civilised surroundings of Hamburg, along with around 1,500 acousticians from over 60 different countries.

Set over 4 days, with corresponding satellite events in Berlin, the German Acoustical Society had selected a venue next door to the famous...


Acoustic problem-solver: Soft skills for consultancy

Ben Saunders - August 2016

For the uninitiated, the job title of acoustic consultant implies an expert advisor, a fountain of knowledge or some kind of walking library. From personal experience, this can seem very daunting to those looking to start their career. While a working knowledge of acoustics and academic proficiency is important, there are many skills that underpin the role that are equally as important.

One of my first experiences of acoustic...


Are You Listening?

Gareth Davies - July 2016

We live in a technological world. Everywhere we go we can summon the power of technology to help, inform or entertain us. Innovation is moving so fast that once unimagined technology is now deemed necessary within the space of a few decades; for instance, the Internet. Perhaps evidence of this continual progression is most pertinent in the quick birth and death of gadgets such as pagers, and mini-disc. Largely, reliance on...


Deaf Acousticians & Blind Architects

James Hill - May 2016

Whilst it’s not often I buy a textbook based on a catchy title, Robert Apfel’s “Deaf Architects & Blind Acousticians” is one that has always stuck in my mind. More often than not, I recall it as “Blind Architects and Deaf Acousticians”, perhaps due to my own questionable hearing abilities but perhaps the mix-up is not as far-fetched as one might think.

Cymatics, speaking simply, is...


Making Waves


Inspiring the Next Generation

Vicky Stewart - March 2016

I am so thrilled to be writing this month’s YMG blog for you on inspiring the next generation, it is a subject close to my heart.

In addition to my day job as an Acoustic Consultant at Atkins, I have been regularly volunteering in schools since about 2008. Last year I was a finalist in the STEMNET awards and I have just started a new role as national coordinator for all school volunteering for Atkins.



4 tips for avoiding airport security headaches for the travelling acoustician

James Hill - February 2016

Any of you who have attended one of the IOA “Art of being a consultant” meetings will have seen that one of the more glamorous aspects to the life of an acoustician is the opportunity to travel. Whilst I can count the number of glamour destinations I’ve visited on one hand (a shame more power plants don’t get built next to beach resorts) – I thought I would cover some of the more interesting trips for the IOA blog.


Welcome to the IOA Blog

Happy New Year! Welcome to the Institute of Acoustics blog.

I’m thrilled to introduce this blog which will be written by a member of the IOA Young Members’ Group (YMG) or Publications committee each month. We will use this opportunity to cover a wide range of topics over the following months in line with the Institute’s aim to maintain and improve science and engineering education, research and practice.

This month I’d like to provide some information...