NAG Winter Party 2016

Happy Holidays 2016 from NAG!

The annual Nebraska Acoustics Group Winter Party was held on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.  The party featured catered fare from Beacon Hills in Omaha, a game of ‘hot potato’ using a small stuffed reindeer (to determine the order of opening gifts), and our traditional ‘white elephant’ gift exchange.  Lily gave out red Rudolph noses (which would have seemed less clownish if we’d had antlers for everyone too?) , as shown in our annual group photo.  We wish all of our friends and colleagues from around the world a happy holiday season and all the best in 2017!

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NAG at ASA/ASJ in Honolulu (November 2016)

Assorted NAG members and alums at ASA/ASJ Honolulu

A number of NAG members participated in the last ASA/ASJ joint meeting in Honolulu (28 November – 2 December, 2016).  Matt Blevins, Laura Brill, and Joonhee Lee all presented technical papers that were well-received.  There were a large number of NAG alums at the conference, many of whom stopped by NAG Board Game Night after the TCAA meeting on Tuesday – we particularly enjoyed the games ‘What’s Yours Like’ and ‘Splendour’!

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Brill receives 2016 NCAC Travel Grant Award

Dr. Wang with Laura Brill, who received the award at the ASA Student Reception in Honolulu

Congratulations to Laura Brill, a MS student in our group, who received a 2016 Student Travel Grant Award from the National Council of Acoustical Consultants (  to present her paper “Exploring Correlation between Sound Levels in Active Occupied Classrooms and Unoccupied Classrooms” at the recent Acoustical Society of America meeting in Honolulu, HI (November 2016)!

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Jay Bliefnick, M.S.

NAG dinner at Blue Sushi in honor of Jay Bliefnick (5th from left)

Congratulations to Jay Bliefnick, who successfully defended his M.S. Thesis “Investigation of Subjective Perception and Objective Metrics of Acoustic Room Diffusion” on November 18, 2016, advised by Dr. Lily Wang!  Jay is continuing his graduate studies at UNL, pursuing his PhD under the advisement of Dr. Erica Ryherd.

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Devin Wong, M.S.

NAG dinner at Espana in honor of Devin Wong  (2nd from left) – NAG alum Cathy Novak was also in attendance!

Congratulations to Devin Wong, who successfully defended his M.S. Thesis “How Acoustics in California High Performance Schools Relate to Student Achivement” on November 17, 2016, advised by Dr. Lily Wang!  Devin works full-time at Veneklasen Associates.

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NAG Meetings 10-26-16 and 11-9-16

At our 10/26/16 NAG meeting, Anna Catton presented on a set of speakers that she designed for the reverberant room at Michigan Tech, where she did her undergraduate studies with Dr. Andrew Barnard.  The acoustic nugget featured the new Acoustical Society of America newsfeed: “ASA News About Acoustics” – which could make Dr. Wang’s job easier when she goes looking for nuggets before each NAG meeting!  At our 11-9-16 NAG meeting, Laura Brill gave an update on the Healthy Schools research project, sponsored by the EPA.  The acoustic nugget featured news on a recent NSF funded project to measure the sounds of New York City … sounds like so much fun!

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NAG Meetings 8-31-16 and 9-28-16

The beginning of another school year is always exciting!  This year, we were pleased to welcome two new graduate students to NAG: Anna Catton and Yoshimi Hasegawa.  At the first NAG meeting of the semester on 8/31/16, members discussed their summer experiences at various acoustic endeavors, and the nugget of the month highlighted a story on CBS that focused on the sounds of a US national park “On The Trail: Great Sand Dunes National Park”.  Then at the 9/28/16 NAG meeting, members of Dr. Ryherd’s research group introduced the new acoustic camera that was recently acquired at UNL – what a cool device!  The nugget that month was on metamaterials and their potential to absorb low frequencies without great mass.

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NAG at ICA in Buenos Aires and ISMRA in La Plata (Sept 2016)

Jay Bliefnick presents his invited paper in the “Isotropy and Diffuseness in Room Acoustics” session at ICA 2016.

Dr. Lily Wang and two students (Jay Bliefnick and Laura Brill) presented technical papers at the International Congress on Acoustics (ICA) in Buenos Aires (September 5-9, 2016) and the following International Symposium on Room and Musical Acoustics (ISMRA) in La Plata (Sept 11-13, 2016).  Both Jay and Laura received ICA Young Scientist Grants to attend the conference!  The meetings provided great networking opportunities, particularly with acousticians from South America and other parts of the world.

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NAG at ASA in Salt Lake City (May 2016)

How did the remainder of 2016 go by so quickly!  We’ve been too busy to update our blog, but now that there’s an ice storm in town, we’re going to try to catch up!

NAG Board Game Night at ASA Salt Lake City

NAG members enjoyed the spring 2016 ASA conference in Salt Lake City (May 23 – 27, 2016).  Dr. Lily Wang was an invited lecturer for the ASA School event ‘Living in the Acoustic , prior to the conference.  Four other members presented technical papers (Jay Bliefnick, Laura Brill, Sungbeen Cho, and Joonhee Lee) on topics ranging from classroom acoustics to diffusion to tonal noise.  We are also very proud of Sungbeen Cho who received a commendation award for his ASA Student Design Competition entry! Our recurring social event, NAG Board Game Night was a success, featuring dessert crepes and games including ‘Camel Up’, ‘Codenames’ and ‘Resistance’!  Find more of our photos from the conference at our Google photos webpage.

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Effects of noise, reverberation and foreign accent on native and non-native listeners’ performance of English speech comprehension

PengWang_JASA-SpeechComprehension 1The May 2016 issue of Journal of the Acoustical Society of America includes a paper by alum Dr. Z. Ellen Peng and Dr. Lily Wang on “Effects of noise, reverberation and foreign accent on native and non-native listeners’ performance of English speech comprehension”! The article presents results from Ellen’s PhD work at the University of Nebraska, indicating that while higher BNLs are generally more detrimental to adult listeners with lower English proficiency, all listeners experience significant comprehension deficits above RC-40 (~48 dBA) with native English talkers. This limit is lower (i.e., above RC-30, or ~38 dBA), however, with non-native talkers. For reverberation, non-native listeners as a group perform best with reverberation times up to 0.6 s, while native listeners perform equally well up to 1.2 s. A matched foreign accent benefit has also been identified, where the negative impact of higher reverberation does not exist for non-native listeners who share the talker’s native language.

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