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The University of Southampton

Celebrating 50 years of pioneering research into sound and vibration

Published: 15 July 2013Origin: Engineering

More than 300 people packed the Turner Sims Concert Hall on campus to celebrate the achievements of the first 50 years of the University of Southampton’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR).

The symposium brought together present and former staff, students and alumni to catch up with old colleagues and friends, share their memories and learn more about current research.

ISVR was founded in 1963 by the far-sighted Professor Elfyn Richards who was quick to understand the growing importance of research into noise. Earlier in his career, he had worked for Vickers Armstrong in Weybridge where the first post-war civil aircraft were designed. 

Leading academics at Southampton and invited guests presented talks at the symposium including updates on auditory implants, sound in the marine environment, noise challenges in automotive and aerospace engineering and sound in space. The EJ Richards public lecture Thirty Years of Auditorium Design was delivered by Rob Harris, Global Acoustic Leader at Arup. 

Philip Nelson, Pro Vice Chancellor Research, former ISVR Director and Professor of Acoustics at the University of Southampton says: "The fantastic success of this celebration has clearly underlined the remarkable achievements of our Institute of Sound and Vibration Research. To maintain our internationally leading position in these disciplines over five decades is a testimony to the dedication of all of the staff involved; not only of our world-leading academics, but of all the support staff who over the years have made ISVR such an outstanding environment in which to work." 

Former ISVR Director Professor Joe Hammond and colleagues organised the two day symposium at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, an appropriate venue as its acoustics had been designed by Professor Philip Doak, a founding member of ISVR. After the talks, people enjoyed a barbecue and party with musical entertainment provided by ISVR staff and students.

The history of ISVR, including interviews with key members, has been preserved online by Mike Lower and Maureen Mew at


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