Image credit: ICBEN

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

When I was a child, one of the standard assignments in September was to write an essay about what we did during the summer. This blog post is a faint echo of that, reporting on my experience attending the 13th Congress of the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise.

The meeting was unfortunately a Zoom meeting, taking the place of last year’s cancelled meeting in Stockholm. The advantage of a virtual meeting is that one doesn’t have to travel, and costs are less because of that, but that’s about all. I miss the informal contacts with other attendees which is where connections are formed, and the real work of the meeting happens.

There is a 9 hour time difference between Stockholm, on Central European Summer Time, and Los Angeles. Being at the computer at 2:45 a.m. for the morning sessions nominally in Stockholm was not fun and led to jet lag even though I didn’t leave home. But I learned a lot from attending the meeting, from the world’s experts.

I also presented 3 papers, one of which caught the attention of ICBEN’s incoming president, Mark Brink, PhD, from Switzerland. That was a presentation on “A New Definition of Noise.” I presented that as part of a poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America meeting in San Diego in 2019, and published that in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.

When I submitted the abstract, I let the meeting organizers know that this had already been presented to an American audience, and published, but I wanted to share the new definition with an international audience. Unlike a live presentation, where the speaker calls on those raising their hands, in the Zoom meetings the questions are asked in the Chat function or a separate Question function, and the moderator of the session selects the questions to be answered.

So I was surprised when the moderator of my session said, “Mark Brink has a question. What would you think about ICBEN accepting your new definition?”

I replied that I thought that would be great.

In his remarks at the close of the session, Dr. Brink mentioned me and the new definition, and said that the topic was being referred to ICBEN’s Executive Committee for further discussion.

That’s what I did at the ICBEN meeting last week.