Noteworthy ASA lectures: Focus on Acousticians of Color

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

Presenters: James West and Ellington West. 

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. Click here to hear the lecture.


On Being an ASA Member of Color: Talks by and about members.

Dr. James E. West, formerly of Bell Laboratories, now research professor at the Johns Hopkins University, interviewed on June 10th, 2009 for the occasion of the Juneteenth celebration by the Student Technology Services, celebrating contributions to science and technology by African American innovators. Dr. West, together with Gerhard Sesslar, invented the Electret Microphone, which is used in roughly 95% percent of microphone applications today.


Where I'm Coming From: Tyrone Porter

Tyrone Porter grew up in Detroit. At the time, he says, the city was about 75 percent black. Now he’s an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, where the demographics are very different. “Once I left the comfort of my black bubble and entered a predominantly white world at the University of Washington I recognized I needed to adapt,” says Porter. “I could not be exclusive. I had to be inclusive and identify both white and black friends, advocates, and allies. Once I opened myself to that philosophy I began to establish relationships with people from all backgrounds. I realized it made me a better, more tolerant person and put me at ease at a predominantly white institution. I have had the same experience at BU identifying white allies at all levels in the university.”

Mr. Porter is now on the faculty at The University of Texas at Austin.

Tyrone Porter, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Myron L. Begeman Fellowship in Engineering

The University of Texas at Austin | Cockrell School of Engineering

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