Keynote Lectures Collection

Visit the ASA Meeting Keynote Lectures for additional videos focusing on acousticians of color.


Monday, 7 December 2020, 4:30 p.m. 

A digital stethoscope with active noise suppression and automatic detection of abnormalities in lung sounds

James E. West and Ellington S. West

Sponsored by Task Force B: Better Engagement of Industry and Practitioners, the College of Fellows, and the Committee to Improve Racial Diversity and Inclusion

This address was presented at the ASA’s first online meeting, Acoustics Virtually Everywhere, in December, 2020. James West is a former ASA president, as well as a winner of both the silver and gold medal of the ASA. His work developing the electret microphone is world renowned and resulted in his inductance into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. He has also dedicated his life to mentoring, showcasing and encouraging the work and success of Black scientists and other people of color. His current work uses acoustics and AI to allow stethoscopes to detect and diagnose diseases of the lungs. He and Ellington West, a healthcare business developer and marketing leader, have founded Sonavi labs to promote this venture. Their keynote lecture discusses the scientific features, the development and the use of this new stethoscope in hospitals around the world, especially locales with limited health care facilities.

A digital stethoscope with active noise suppression and automatic detection of abnormalities in lung sounds

Auscultation, the action of listening to sounds from the body, typically with a stethoscope, as a part of medical diagnosis remains one of the most common, and cost-effective diagnostic practices but requires a high level of expertise. Although widely practiced, it is undermined by subjectivity in interpretation, limiting the ability to accurately interpret sounds objectively and repeatedly. Frequently, high environmental noise levels render conventional stethoscopes useless. It is also true that substantial experience is required in order to properly diagnose lung abnormalities such as pneumonia and Covid-19. Here we present a digital stethoscope with active noise suppression and an artificial intelligence algorithm (AI) that identifies lung abnormalities with accuracy comparable to trained medical personnel. This new line of respiratory diagnostic tools is appropriate for community health workers in under-resourced regions, for chronic respiratory patients in their home, and for medical professionals in noisy clinics, who wish to improve their ability to hear and interpret lung sounds. This conversation will also explore the opportunities and obstacles associated with bringing a product from the lab to the marketplace.

James E. West

Ellington S. West

James E. West is currently Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His pioneering research on charge storage and transport in polymers (the electrical analogy of a permanent magnet) led to the development of electret transducers for sound recording and voice communication. West was inducted into The National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1999 for the invention of the electret microphone. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; a Fellow, and past President, of the Acoustical Society of America, and a Fellow of the IEEE. West is the recipient of the Acoustical Society of America's Silver and Gold Medals in Engineering Acoustics, the National Medal of Technology, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Engineering

Ellington West is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sonavi Labs. She brings over 10 years of experience in healthcare business development, market research and leadership to Sonavi Labs and is overseeing the development of the company's inaugural product line. Prior to founding Sonavi Labs, Ellington served as the Mid- Atlantic Director of Sales for a national healthcare organization, driving 250M in revenue annually. Ellington is best known for delivering record-breaking revenue and profit gains within highly competitive regional markets.


Tuesday, 8 June 2021, 4:00 p.m. EDT

Speech Acoustics and Mental Health Assessment

Carol Espy-Wilson, University of Maryland


Carol Espy-Wilson is a Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department and the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Espy-Wilson’s research is in speech communication. She combines knowledge of digital signal processing, speech acoustics, linguistics, machine learning and deep learning to conduct interdisciplinary research in speech production, speech and speaker recognition, speech enhancement and single-channel speech segregation.  She also analyzes speech as a behavioral signal for emotion recognition, sentiment analysis and the detection and monitoring of mental health. Dr. Espy-Wilson received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and her M.S., E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, Dr. Espy-Wilson was a faculty member at Boston University. Her company, OmniSpeech, translated research in her lab on noise suppression and speech enhancement to technology that improves speech-enabled technology in any device, app or platform. Dr. Espy-Wilson is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the International Speech Communication Association, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and a Senior Member of IEEE.  Among the other honors and awards she has received for her research contributions are a Clare Boothe Luce Professorship, a Career Award from the National Institutes of Health, two Honda Initiation Awards,  an Invention of the Year Award (2010) and an Innovator of the Year Award (2010). Dr. Espy-Wilson has served as the chair of the Speech Technical Committee of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and as an elected member of the Speech and Language Technical Committee of IEEE.  She has served on the board of  ASA’s Acoustics Today and as an Associate Editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. For the National Institutes of Health she has been a member of the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation  and as a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institutes on Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Deafness and other Communication Disorders.



Wednesday, 9 June 2021, 4:30 p.m. EDT   A Personal Perspective and Journey through DEI & STEM Sylvester James Gates, Jr., Brown University Abdus Salam, a 1979 Nobel Prize recipient in Physics, once told the speaker there was a possibility of “Jazz in Physics” coming into existence when the field became more diverse.  This presentation will present a personal interpretation and story on the meaning of this “puzzling” comment and how it led to a citation by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Sylvester James “Jim” Gates, Jr., (born December 15, 1950) is an American theoretical physicist. He received two B.S. degrees and a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the latter in 1977. His doctoral thesis was the first one at MIT to deal with supersymmetry. In 2017, Gates retired from the University of Maryland, and is currently the Brown Theoretical Physics Center Director, Ford Foundation Professor of Physics, an Affiliate Mathematics Professor, and a Faculty Fellow, Watson Institute for International Studies & Public Affairs at Brown University. While at the University of Maryland, College Park, Gates was a University System Regents Professor, the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, the Director of the String and Particle Theory Center, and Affiliate Professor of Mathematics. Gates served on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, contemporaneously on the Maryland State Board of Education from 2009-2016, and the National Commission on Forensic Science from 2013-2016. He is known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory. In 1984, working with M.T. Grisaru, M. Rocek, W. Siegel, Gates co-authored Superspace, the first comprehensive book on the topic of supersymmetry. In 2017, working with Frank Blitzer and Stephen Jacob Sekula, he co-authored Reality in the Shadows (Or) What the Heck's the Higgs? In 2019, together with Cathie Pelletier, he co-authored Proving Einstein Right: The Daring Expeditions that Changed How We Look at the Universe. In 2006, he completed a DVD series titled Superstring Theory: The DNA of Reality for The Teaching Company composed of 24 half-hour lectures to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to non-physicists. In 2012, he was named a University System of Maryland Regents Professor, only the sixth person so recognized in the system’s history. He is a past president of the National Society of Black Physicists, and is a NSBP Fellow, as well as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Institute of Physics in the U.K. In 2019 he was elected to the presidential line of the APS where he is currently serving as President. He also is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2013, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, becoming the first African-American theoretical physicist so recognized in its 150-year history. On November 16, 2013, Prof. Gates was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University “in recognition of his influential work in supersymmetry, supergravity and string theory, as well as his advocacy for science and science education in the United States and abroad.” President Obama awarded Prof. Gates the 2011 National Medal of Science, the highest award given to scientists in the U.S., at a White House ceremony in 2013. During 2014, he was named the Harvard Foundation’s “Scientist of the Year.” In 2019, he was invited to serve on the American Bar Assoc Steering Committee for the Annual Prescription For Criminal Justice And Forensic Science. In 2020, he began serving on the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. He continues to broadly engage video documentaries with appearances or cameos. He currently continues his research in supersymmetry in systems of particles, fields, and strings.



Monday, 23 May 2022, 4:00 p.m. MDT Understanding Echoes Wu-Jung Lee, University of Washington, Seattle  

Wu-Jung Lee is a Senior Oceanographer at the Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA. She received her B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Life Science from National Taiwan University and her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography. Prior to joining APL-UW, she took a detour from ocean acoustics to study bat echolocation as a F.V. Hunt Postdoctoral Fellow of the ASA at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Lee enjoys working on problems that bridge across disciplinary boundaries and with people with different backgrounds. Her research spans two primary areas: acoustical oceanography and animal echolocation. In acoustical oceanography, she develops physics-based and data-driven methods to extract biological information from active acoustic observations of the ocean. In animal echolocation, she combines experimental and computational approaches to study the sonar of bats and dolphins as biological models for engineering insights.

Dr. Lee actively contributes to open-source scientific software and leads the development of Echopype, a Python library for interoperable and scalable processing of ocean sonar data. She is also an advocate for a more inclusive and supportive research community. Since 2018 she has led and co-led the organization of OceanHackWeek, a workshop dedicated to building a community centered around data science in oceanography that embraces these values.

Dr. Lee loves going to the sea despite being very prone to motion sickness. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time in the mountains and drawing.


By sending out sounds and analyzing the returning echoes, both humans and animals use active acoustic sensing systems to probe and understand the environment. High-frequency sonar systems, or echosounders, are the workhorse for observing fish and zooplankton in the ocean. Toothed whales and bats navigate and forage via echolocation in the air and under water. In this talk, I will discuss our work with both engineered and biological sonar systems to enable effective extraction and interpretation of information embedded in the echoes. We are developing data-driven methodologies and open-source software tools to tackle challenges imposed by large volumes of echosounder data rapidly accumulating across the global ocean. Using echolocating toothed whales as a model, we are combining experimental and computational approaches to understand biological processing of echo information. Throughout the talk, I will highlight the pivotal role of collaboration in my professional and personal development, and discuss efforts by colleagues and myself to cultivate a sense of community in our field

Senior/Principal Acoustics Consultant


Location: Southern California

Senior or Principal Acoustics Consultant-Southern California

We seek to hire an experienced acoustics consultant to work in our Architectural Acoustics and Mechanical Noise Control Group located in Southern California.

This senior-level position is client-facing, hands-on consulting for the full range of our projects, including commercial, civic, education, worship, residential, healthcare, and performing arts. You will work alongside some of the best acoustical consultants in the country to provide excellent guidance to our clients – architects, engineers, building owners, arts organizations, and other user groups. Our consultants are involved with all aspects of project management – from proposal writing to final construction and project closeout. Acentech’s consultants are actively involved with many professional societies (ASA, INCE, and others), and support the firm’s marketing and business development efforts.

Experience and background well suited to this position include:

  • 10+ years working for an acoustics consulting firm.
  • Proven acoustics consulting project management experience.
  • Providing consulting related to room acoustics, sound isolation, and mechanical system noise and vibration control on a variety of project types.
  • Evaluating community and environmental noise.
  • Reading and interpreting building drawings and specifications.
  • Strong communication skills – written and verbal.
  • Skill and interest in developing business, and an eagerness to be one of the “faces” of Acentech.
  • Passion for their work – for buildings, for sound, for music.

Additional experience that is beneficial (but not required to apply) includes:

  • A working understanding of vibration isolation.
  • Performing acoustics measurements, in accordance with ANSI, ASTM, and ISO standards.
  • Familiarity with acoustical modeling software, noise modeling software, AutoCAD, and/or Revit.
  • A Master’s degree in a field directly or closely related to architectural acoustics.
  • Demonstrated leadership in the field, via speaking engagements, byline articles, blog posts, etc.

To Apply:

Acentech is a multi-disciplinary consulting firm specializing in acoustics, noise and vibration control, audiovisual systems, telecommunications, and security system design, serving a diverse group of clients across the United States from our strategically located offices. With a professional staff of more than 65 consultants, Acentech is one of the oldest and largest organizations of its type. We foster a highly collaborative environment and we actively look for candidates that can further broaden and enrich our experience, perspective, and expertise. Acentech places a high value on a diverse workforce, and encourages applications from all backgrounds. We value our culture and our staff and place a premium on work-life balance. We are extremely proud of being a 100% employee-owned firm.

Acentech is an equal opportunity employer and offers competitive salaries and outstanding benefits including three weeks of vacation for starting employees, 11 paid holidays, 80 hours of paid sick leave, health and dental coverage that is 80% company paid including reimbursement for 100% of deductible costs, tuition reimbursement, 401(k), and many other benefits. Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.



Acoustical Engineer – Sound & Vibration

Noise Control Engineering, LLC (NCE)

Location: Billerica, MA

Sound & Vibration/Acoustical Engineer

Noise Control Engineering, LLC (NCE) (equal opportunity employer) is seeking an entry-level sound & vibration/acoustical engineer to join our team in Billerica, Massachusetts. NCE is a leading engineering consulting firm specializing in marine and industrial noise and vibration control. We take pride in creating unique solutions to difficult problems by developing and using advanced modeling and measurement approaches. Our engineers perform predictions and assessments of airborne noise, underwater noise, vibration, stress, and more. We assist a diverse range of clients to design and maintain safe and comfortable shipboard environments as well as understand and control the impacts of noise in the environment.

As an NCE engineer, you will join a talented team in a unique small business environment, combining your analytical skills with hands-on testing to develop quiet designs, perform diagnostics, and solve challenging problems                    

You will have opportunities to create computer models of noise, vibration, and stress using Statistical Energy Analysis, Finite Element Analysis, and other tools. Your knowledge of marine acoustics will be directly applied to assessing noise and vibration environments at sea. NCE encourages forward thinking and identification of new approaches to data collection and analysis. Travel is required throughout the United States and sometimes abroad.

Please visit our website ( to learn more about our company, our projects and clients, and what is happening at NCE.

Interested applicants should submit their cover letter, resume, and transcripts (both official and unofficial are accepted) to our applicant center for review.

Successful NCE Employees:

  • Are eager to perform acoustical and vibration design assessments, mitigation strategy development, and testing on ships and other marine structures.
  • Strive for Excellence.
  • Demonstrate a mutual respect for coworkers in a culture of collaboration, integrity, and innovation.
  • Are willing to take on our clients’ problems as our own, become the clients’ advocate, and cultivate long-term client relationships.
  • Demonstrate excellent written, verbal, and graphical communication
  • Demonstrate a passion for noise and vibration control
  • Are motivated to identify and pursue internal and external professional growth opportunities, including areas outside their specific discipline.


  • BS, MS, or PhD in Mechanical Engineering or other related field, preferably with coursework in acoustics and/or vibrations.


  • 0-3 years of working experience, preferably with exposure to acoustics and/or marine structures.
  • A basic (or better) understanding of sound and vibration in land-based or marine environments. (Many marine-specific aspects of the work will be taught on the job.)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office software packages.
  • Experience with finite element analysis, MATLAB, Python, and/or other computational modeling tools or computer languages is a plus.
  • Sound, vibration, and modal testing experience is preferred.
  • Travel and fieldwork are required. Some project assignments may require a valid driver’s license, current passport, and/or TWIC card.
  • NCE works on ITAR and classified projects. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen in order to comply with the requirements of these projects.

NCE offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical/dental coverage, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, bonus and profit-sharing plans, and a 401(k) plan.

NCE is proud to provide equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment. In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions will be based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. NCE does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.

We encourage women, minorities, veterans, disabled veterans, and the disabled to apply for this position.

Application Instructions:

Interested applicants should submit the following items to our applicant center in order to be considered for the position –

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Transcripts (either official or unofficial will be accepted)

Applicants missing any documentation will not be considered.

Faculty – Building Acoustics

British Columbia Institute of Technology – BCIT

Location: Burnaby, BC Canada

Position Title: Faculty – Building Acoustics

Job Status: Regular

Full-Time/Part-Time: Full-Time

Competition Close Date: 07/02/2022



At BCIT, putting people at the core of everything we do is paramount. This idea is the foundation of BCIT’s People Vision, which describes the lnstitute’s goals and priorities in respect to our people. In a complex and uncertain world, it’s vital our people feel valued, supported and connected. BCIT champions a culture of innovation and global progress through people’s imagination and creativity. With a competitive compensation package, great work-life balance, and career advancement opportunities, see why we’ve earned the title of one of BC’s Top Employers for over ten years running.

BCIT values diverse experiences, ideas, cultures and perspectives and is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. As an equal opportunity employer, we encourage applications from members of all groups experiencing barriers to equity. If you require accessibility accommodations during any part of the application or hiring process, please contact so we can best support you.

BCIT acknowledges that our campuses are located on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations.


BCIT’s School of Construction and the Environment is currently seeking a regular full-time Faculty in the field of Building Acoustics. The faculty will be a member of the Graduate Program in Building Science. The Graduate Program aims to establish a regional education and research capacity in Building Science and Building Engineering, advance the state of practice in building design and construction, promote sustainable design and innovation, and become a recognized knowledge-based node in the global network of building science experts.

The Building Science Acoustics lab has been developed over the last 10 years to include: 4 channel and 8 channels analyzers for laboratory measurements, room acoustics, environmental sound and vibrations measurements, impedance tube, shoulder-unit for binaural for psychoacoustics research, 40 microphone array for sound source localization, tapping machine for impact testing on floors and roofs, intensity probe for sound transmission and sound power emission,1:10 scale anechoic chamber for free-field simulation, a 325 m^3 ASTM E-90 sound transmission suite is currently under construction.


Currently, the Building Science Graduate Program is looking for a talented team oriented individual to fill a challenging research and teaching position. Candidates with research and teaching experience in building acoustics are encouraged to apply. The main roles and responsibilities of the faculty are as follows:

  • Conduct leading edge applied research in acoustic research in areas such as sound transmission of novel assemblies, building envelopes or living architecture, material characteristics and room acoustics, or psychoacoustics and sound quality.
  • Develop and maintain their own research program related to building acoustics within a framework of collaborations throughout the institution and industry.
  • Teach undergraduate and graduate courses in building acoustics, supervise graduate students’ research projects
  • Actively engage in scholarly activities, supporting funding initiative and produce publications
  • Serve on committees for the School, the Institute, and industry associations


  • PhD in Acoustics and a minimum of three to five years current, related research and teaching experience
  • Demonstrated success in writing research proposals and securing research funding
  • Proven ability to produce quality publications in the field of specialization
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, demonstrating an excellent command of the English language
  • Recent industry experience and eligibility for registration as a professional engineer would be a strong asset

Benefits – Why you'd love working with us

  • Competitive pay
  • Minimum of twenty-five days of vacation (or more, depending on your position)
  • Competitive employer-paid extended health and dental plan – take a look at our benefit plans!
  • Defined contribution pension plan with employer contributions
  • Eligibility for partial remote work upon Institute approval
  • Professional Development funds and resources
  • Access to most BCIT PTS courses free of charge
  • Wellness and Employee Assistance programs
  • Complimentary membership with free access to the Fitness Centre, Gymnasium, and more

Note: Applicants will be redirected to to apply.


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