The Acoustical Society of America has awarded Professor William M. Carey (AME) the “2007 Pioneer of Underwater Acoustics” silver medal for his contributions to understanding ocean ambient noise and defining the limits of acoustic array performance in the ocean.
According to the Acoustical Society of America, the “Pioneer of Underwater Acoustics” medal is awarded to “an individual, irrespective of nationality, age, or society affiliation, who has made and outstanding contribution to the science of underwater acoustics, as evidenced by publication of research results in professional journals or by other accomplishments in the field.” Only sixteen other individuals have earned this distinction since the medal was introduced in 1959.
“This award really caught me completely by surprise,” Carey said. “To me, it’s a very significant award, especially because it was voted on by people I’ve worked with over the years. It’s true recognition by your peers.”
An AME professor since 1999, Carey’s acoustical work and research has centered on the imaging, ability and resolution of underwater acoustic antenna known as arrays. Arrays were used by the U.S. Navy during the Cold War to track submarines off the coasts and more recently have been used to listen and study the environment of marine mammals.
Carey’s most recent and continuing research has been focused on two areas: the development and demonstration of hydrophone arrays; and the measurement of directional ambient noise produced by microbubble clouds.
The arrays are towed by autonomous underwater vehicles and detect sound around shallow water coastal areas and ports. His research has contributed to improved understanding of sound propagation, the predictability of propagation and the limits of spatial coherent signal processing.
Carey’s research has helped determine that the microbubble clouds produced by breaking waves can radiate low frequency sound. This research has produced the measurement of the physical acoustic properties of oceanic bubble distributions.
“What we did was determine how much ambient sound is produced in the ocean if all of the ships and everything else are removed,” he said. “This was an important discovery on an environmental level, oceanic level and a military level.”
This is not Carey’s first honor in oceanic achievement. During his tenure at Boston University, Carey received the 1999 Distinguished Technical Achievement Award by the IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society of America, the IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society 3rd Millennium Award in 2000 and the 2005 IEEE/Oceanic Engineering Society Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the Cosmos Club, a member of Sigma Xi, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, a Fellow of the IEEE, and Editor Emeritus of the Journal of Oceanic Engineering.