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AES and L-Acoustics launch the Dr. Christian Heil Future of Sound Scholarship

A stipend of $5,000 will be offered annually to graduate students in the field of audio engineering who are members of the AES and who demonstrate curiosity and dedication to shaping the future of sound

Christian Heil

To mark the 35th anniversary of its founding, L-Acoustics has announced the creation of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Dr. Christian Heil Future of Sound Scholarship.

A stipend of $5,000 will be offered annually to graduate students in the field of audio engineering who are members of the AES and who demonstrate curiosity and dedication to shaping the future of sound. The first of the scholarships has been granted to McGill University student Ben Creelman, who is now pursuing a Masters in the field of sound recording.

Educational outreach has been significant to L-Acoustics from the beginning, and they have made an effort to develop effective training programmes for end-users. “The professional sound industry has evolved greatly and I’m proud to have been able to contribute to that,” expressed Christian Heil. “It’s an honour to help young talent through this scholarship, who will continue to push the industry forward.”

L-Acoustics traces its beginning to 1977, when Heil, who holds a PhD in particle physics, attended a Pink Floyd concert and was inspired to serve the live events industry by creating and developing pragmatic solutions for sound professionals.

In 2001, Heil presented the “Wavefront Sculpture Technology” (WST) paper at the 111th AES Convention in New York, applying the principles of optical diffraction and wavefront propagation to the field of audio, and establishing the criteria for the effective coupling of sound sources. Heil’s ability to adapt concepts from outside the audio profession allowed for a scientific breakthrough that fundamentally changed the industry. The resulting line source array, a leaner, lighter, and more cost-effective alternative to the existing “wall of sound” approach achieved greater throw, uniform audience coverage, directional precision, and clarity. Line array technology has become the industry standard, and its widespread adoption has enabled the live event industry to evolve to today’s massive arena tours and live music festivals.

Today, L-Acoustics remains dedicated to its scientific origins, with 24 per cent of the team in R&D and application engineering working across disciplines beyond pure audio, such as mechanical and fluids engineering, software, embedded electronics, and material science.

In keeping with Heil’s record of shaping the industry through innovation, the Dr. Christian Heil Future of Sound scholarship will seek out students with approaches that may question conventions or call upon bodies of scientific knowledge outside of the realm of audio. Students having pursued an undergraduate course of studies in an area other than audio are encouraged to apply in the interest of enriching cross-disciplinary thinking and exchanges to further the state of the art.

“L-Acoustics has a long-standing involvement with AES, making regular contributions as an active member of the Technical Committee on Acoustics and Sound Reinforcement, publishing papers and contributing to tutorial and workshop sessions at conventions,” explained L-Acoustics director of scientific outreach, Etienne Corteel. “Creating this new scholarship is an expression of our continued commitment to AES and to the evolution of the industry.”

“AES and L-Acoustics share core values,” concluded Don Puluse, president of the AES Educational Foundation. “The inauguration of the Dr. Christian Heil Future of Sound scholarship reinforces our commitment to fostering the careers of young talent who will contribute to the sound industry for years to come.”

PMC also recently launched a scholarship for audio engineering students in conjunction with AES.