Acoustical Society of America
135th Meeting News Conference Release

at Acoustics Meeting


Woodbury, New York, June 10, 1998

Less than two weeks from now, Seattle will host what will be the biggest meeting ever devoted exclusively to the science of acoustics: the Joint 16th International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) and the 135th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), to take place between June 20-26 at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel and Towers and the Westin Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Washington.

Exciting Results in a Variety of Subject Areas

With over 1500 expected attendees from 49 countries, this meeting promises to deliver exciting new research results, such as how sound waves are replacing hypodermic needles to inject insulin painlessly through the skin, how sonar is being adapted to monitor the world's increasingly depleted fish populations, and how the guitar-distortion effects of Seattle native Jimi Hendrix exhibit scientifically interesting properties.

The Seattle Newsroom

The Acoustical Society of America will operate a newsroom at the Seattle meeting and offer a series of news conferences during the week of the meeting. The news conferences will take place at the Whidbey Room of the Westin. The newsroom itself will be the Blakely Room of the Westin, where the phone numbers will be 206-727-7617 and 206-727-7618. Newsroom hours will be Monday-Wednesday, June 22-24, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Thursday, June 25 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. A list of news conferences can be found below.

A World-Wide Newsroom

Even those who can't make it to Seattle can learn about specific research results by visiting the ASA Press Room ( This web site already contains over 25 lay-language versions of meeting papers, and several more will be added by the time of the meeting. Written by the actual researchers specifically for science writers, these papers comprise a trove of new research results and background information on hot topics in acoustics. The topics of these lay-language papers are listed at the end of this release.

List of News Conferences

The following is the list of news conferences at the meeting. To read the abstracts of the papers mentioned in the news conference descriptions, go to the ICA/ASA Meeting Abstracts Database ( and type in the paper code.

1. Jimi Hendrix and the Acoustics of Distortion

Monday, June 22, 1:00 PM

One of the most influential musical figures in the world of rock music, guitarist Jimi Hendrix was among the first instrumentalists to use distortion as an expressive tool in music. Another pioneer was Eric Dolphy, a jazz musician who in the early 1960s introduced distortion effects in acoustical instruments such as the alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. And vocalists instinctively employ distortion as a valuable tool. Researchers will explain how Hendrix, Dolphy, and vocalists have used distortion to create expressive, harmonically rich sonic environments. Edward Burns (206-685-2683), University of Washington (Chair, Session 1pMU); James J. Fricke (425-990-7010), Experience Music Project, Seattle, Washington (Paper 1pMU6); Douglas Keefe (402-498-6733), Boys Town National Research Hospital (1pMU3); Soren Buus (617-373-5196), Northeastern University (1pMU5); and others.

2. Acoustic Surgery

Tuesday, June 23, 12:45 PM

When one thinks of ultrasound in medicine, one traditionally envisions using sound to break up kidney stones and to take pictures of fetuses. In intriguing experimental studies, scientists are demonstrating that ultrasound can perform surgical tasks such as break up tumors, remove unwanted tissue, and stop internal bleeding. Naren Sanghvi of Focus Surgery, Inc. in Indianapolis (317-541-1580) will discuss a technique for using ultrasound to remove diseased prostate tissue (2pBV6). Larry Crum (206-685-8622) of the University of Washington (and President of ASA) will describe experiments with high-intensity ultrasound which show how one can significantly reduce the oozing and bleeding that traditionally hinders liver surgery (2aBV3). Gail ter Haar of the Royal Marsden Hospital in England (011-44-181-642-6011; will report encouraging experimental trials in which ultrasound removed the desired portions of kidney, prostate, and liver tumors in human patients (2pBV4).

3. New Uses of Sound in Medicine.

Wednesday, June 24, 11 AM

Yosi Kost of MIT (617-253-5359) will discuss sonophoresis, the use of sound waves in place of needles to inject drugs such as insulin and interferon directly through the skin (3aBV3). Using this technique, the Ekos Corporation in Bothell, Washington (contact Tom Keenan or Joe Eichinger, 425-482-1108) is developing an acoustically based insulin-delivery system for people with diabetes. James Greenleaf of the Mayo Clinic (507-284-8496) will describe how ultrasound may aid the introduction of genetic material in living cells (3aBV6). Pierre Mourad of the University of Washington (206-543-6921) will describe the technique of ultrasound enhanced thrombolysis (UET)--the use of ultrasound to destroy blot clots everywhere in the body (5aBVb1). George H. Harrison of the University of Maryland at Baltimore (410-706-7133) will discuss sonodynamic therapy--the process of using sound to activate drugs at specific sites in the body (3pBV2) Developing anti-cancer drugs that are activated by ultrasound only at the desired regions can potentially minimize the devastating effects of chemotherapy.

4. Wired by Words.

Wednesday, June 24, 1 PM

One of the most intriguing recent theories in psycholinguistics asserts that babies essentially form all the nerve-cell connections in the brain required to comprehend the sounds of their native language by the time they are a year old, even if they cannot yet vocalize their words. In an effort to understand further how the infant brain wires itself to incoming language information, Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington (206-543-7974) will present new non-invasive electrical measurements of brain activity in 7-month-olds listening to sounds from their native language (3aSC2). Kuhl proposes that a baby starts out as a "language universalist," but by the first year it becomes a "language specialist," in which its nerve cells wire themselves to perceive distinctions between different types of sounds in its native language.

5. Fish Love Songs/Whale Rhythms

Thursday, June 25, 11 AM

Studying how female midshipman fish distinguish between the mating calls ("hums") of numerous males singing to them simultaneously, Andrew Bass's lab at Cornell University (607-254-4330) will present evidence that the regularly repeating acoustical "beats" produced by the concurrent hums get converted into rhythmically timed nerve signals in the brain, allowing individuals to distinguish between the different songs (4aAB1). Whales generate long rhythmic patterns of sound, and some sounds can travel hundreds of miles underwater. Analyzing "the remarkable cadence" of these patterns, Christopher Clark of Cornell University (607-254-2408) will show that whales can retain a rhythm even after minutes of silence (4aAB4).

Lay Language Paper Topics

The following lay-language papers are posted at on the Web. They are listed according to the day in which the technical version of the papers will be delivered at the meeting. **P** indicates that a paper contains pictures, and **S** indicates that it includes sound. The titles in the following list have been crafted especially for this news release, in order to give a more elaborate description of the paper topics; the actual paper titles at the website may differ slightly from those given below.


How Sound Can Measure Global Warming of the Oceans, by Robert C. Spindel, University of Washington, et al. **P**

Highway Noise Barriers with Jagged Edges: Why Are They Better at Blocking Noise? by Penelope Menounou et al., University of Texas **P**

Conversations between Machines and Humans: Future Directions in Speech Recognition and Synthesis, by Sadaoki Furui, Tokyo Institute of Technology


Eric Dolphy's Playing Style in the Vienna Art Orchestra, Alexandra Hettergott, University of Wien, Vienna, Austria **S** **P**

Characteristics of Fault Processes in Central Arctic Ice by Catherine Stamoulis and Ira Dyer, MIT


Sound Quality in an Italian Opera House by Alessandro Cocchi, Massimo Garai, and Carla Tavernelli, University of Bologna, Italy **P**

Dissolving Blood Clots, Stopping Internal Bleeding, and Treating Kidney Stones with Medical Ultrasound, by Lawrence Crum, University of Washington et al.


The Oldest Existing Opera House in Europe by Luigi Maffei, University of Naples **P**

Ultrasound Surgery for Liver, Prostate, and Kidney Tumors by Gail ter Haar, Royal Marsden Hospital, England

Evidence that Babies\042 Inner Ears are Adult-Like by Term Birth, by Caroline Abdala, House Ear Institute, Los Angeles

When the Future Disrupts the Past: Auditory Perception in Children with Language Disorders by Beverly A. Wright, Northwestern University


Shielding Noise from the New Home of the Seattle Symphony, Andrew Clapham, Project Manager, Seattle Symphony et al. **P**

Using Shock Waves to Enhance Gene Therapy and Tumor Treatment by Michael Delius, University of Munich **P**

The Remarkable Vibrational Properties of Rock by James A. TenCate et al., Los Alamos **P**


A Sonic Gas Analyzer for Averting Methane Explosions by Matthew V. Golden et al., Penn State University **P**

Imaging the Bottom of the Sea with an Acoustic Camera by James T. Christoff, Naval Surface Warfare Center


Japan's New "Theater City" by Takahiko Yanagisawa, TAK Associated Architects, Inc.


Using Sound to Map Fish Populations, by Joseph J. Luczkovich, Mark W. Sprague and Stephen Johnson, East Carolina University (2 papers) **S** **P**

New Substances for Improving the Contrast of Ultrasound Images by Gregory M. Lanza, Washington University **P**

Fuzzy Structure Theory by Christian Soize, ONERA Laboratory, France

Are the Congenitally Blind Really Better at Hearing? by Kim M. Goddard et al., University of Calgary

A Worldwide Monitoring System for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Plans and Progress by Martin W. Lawrence and Marta Galindo Arranz, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, Vienna, Austria **P**


Applying Kidney-Stone-Demolishing Shock Waves to Gene Therapy of Tumors by Douglas L. Miller, Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, et al.

Features of the Japanese Soundscape Recognized by Foreigners: A Questionnaire Survey on Sounds for the Foreigners Living in the City of Fukuoka by Shin-ichiro Iwamiya, Kyushu Institute of Design **S** **P**

Can a Machine Outperform a Radiologist in Interpreting Ultrasound Images? - Hope for a Cheap and Reliable Automatic Diagnostic System for Breast Cancer by Georgia Georgiou and Fernand S. Cohen, Drexel University **P**


Fish Love Songs, by Andrew Bass, Cornell University et al. **P**

--Ultrasound-Assisted Drug Delivery and New Uses of Sound in Medicine, by Pierre Mourad, University of Washington --and others

Additional Information

For more information, please contact Ben Stein of the American Institute of Physics at 301-209-3091 through June 19, and 206-728-1000 from June 22-25.

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