ASA 128th Meeting - Austin, Texas - 1994 Nov 28 .. Dec 02

5aEA13. Rethinking the acoustics curriculum.

Daniel R. Raichel

Dept. of Mech. Eng., Cooper Union, 51 Astor Pl., New York, NY 10003

R. Bruce Lindsay's classic ``wheel diagram'' [Acoustics: Historical and Philosophical Development (Deaden, Hutchison and Ross, Stroudsburg, PA, 1972), p. 2] remains remarkably relevant today. The manifold categories of acoustics have not increased in number but deepened, rather, under the impetus of current R&D spurred by easy availability of computers. This situation has resulted in more material to cover in undergraduate and graduate courses for students of engineering and natural sciences. The necessity for total mastery of fundamentals remains, but the question arises regarding how much and what should be treated within time constraints. After a basic overview-type course (which must include laboratory experience) at least two additional courses should be provided in order to ensure that the undergraduate student has a sufficiently strong background in acoustics. The second course might deal almost exclusively with the theory and applications of ultrasonics, and the third course could be an independent study, whereby the student can pursue topics of specific interest under professorial guidance. For architecture majors, a special course in building acoustics should be a requisite---not so much for the purpose of making them acoustical experts as to inculcate in them an awareness of the acoustical implications of their work.