OXFORD, Miss. – For anyone who regularly writes about science, being engaging while communicating the topic’s complexity can be an arduous task.
For Charles Church, senior research scientist at the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Physical Acoustics, being named as the new editor of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America’s Express Letters gives him an opportunity to improve the quality of scientific discourse in acoustics.
Since 1929, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America has been the premier scientific journal in the field of acoustics. Express Letters, or JASA-EL, is the rapid communications version, intended for disseminating short articles on important new research and cutting edge developments in all fields of acoustics. Published online as a section of the JASA, the letters serves physical scientists, life scientists, engineers, psychologists, physiologists, architects, musicians, and speech and hearing scientists.
As editor of JASA-EL, Church will be responsible for appointing new associate editors for each area of interest that oversee reviews of more than 300 submissions per year, with an acceptance rate of less than 50 percent.
“The most important part of the job is to ensure that manuscripts are handled efficiently and decisions are made promptly,” Church said. “After all, the ‘EL’ stands for ‘Express Letters,’ and we want that to mean something, so we try to finish the review process in three weeks or less.”
Church also plans to broaden the interests of the membership by expanding into areas of acoustics that previously haven’t had significant coverage, such as aeroacoustics, the production of sound by fluid flow. He also plans to publish articles that are not only scientific but also entertaining, such as a recent paper entitled “Coffee roasting acoustics.”
“It turns out that you can tell a lot about how your beans are doing by listening carefully to them as they roast,” Church said.
“The NCPA is thrilled with the Acoustical Society of America’s selection of Dr. Church as the next editor of JASA Express Letters,” said Joseph Gladden, the acoustics center’s director. “We are confident Dr. Church will successfully guide JASA-EL as it continues to grow in impact and are proud to see another NCPA scientist selected for a leadership position in the field of acoustics.”
Church also hopes this position will help him improve the quality of writing of UM students in science and engineering.
“Being an editor allows me to see the kinds of mistakes that people at various educational levels make,” Church said. “This better prepares me to know how to deal with those errors and to help students learn how to avoid those and similar mistakes.
“One of the most important lessons any student can learn is that while being intelligent and capable are necessary assets, the inability to communicate clearly and correctly will severely limit their chances for success in any profession.”