Each year, the underwater acoustics research community organises an international conference in Europe. This year, ICUA-2024 was held in Bath, led and chaired by Dr Philippe Blondel from the Department of Physics. It attracted ca. 250 delegates from 24 countries and 4 continents.

Multidisciplinary by nature, the presentations covered the latest research across fields as diverse as monitoring climate change, Deep Learning, bioacoustics of whales, reduction of shipping noise or new sonar instruments. The delegates spanned the gamut of academia, NGOs, government agencies and industry. The conference was associated with a strong palette of exhibitors, a poster session and a very successful Early Career Event.

The social programme was very enjoyable too, with an early icebreaker before the conference, then on later days a tour of SS Great Britain in Bristol and the conference dinner in the Pump Room in Bath (after a cocktail around the Roman Baths).

This was a conference from the institute of Acoustics and its international status was used to present the AB Wood Medals to the winners for 2023 (Netherlands) and 2024 (Canada). There were two keynote lectures by internationally recognised experts in their respective fields, about Arctic ocean observations and about acoustic biodiversity.

This conference is held in Bath approximately every 10 years. The first one (1983) was organised by Prof. Nick Pace to celebrate his first 10 years in the Department of Physics at Bath, and it is still part of the lore in the field, as all attendees still have very fond memories and the book resulting from the conference is still used at all levels of research. The next conference (1993) was chaired by Nick Pace shortly before he went on detachment in Italy. In 2005, the following conference was chaired by Nick Pace and Philippe Blondel, who chaired the 2015 conference. Philippe also chaired the 2024 conference, with a special tribute to the memory and achievements of Nick Pace, with contributions from his former students and colleagues. The scene is now set for 2034!