Dr. Lily Wang is a Professor of Architectural Engineering in the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction and the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Faculty Development in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She received her PhD in Acoustics from Pennsylvania State University. She then worked as a research fellow in the Department of Acoustic Technology at the Technical University of Denmark before accepting a faculty position at UNL. Lily has received many awards and honors during her career, including the R. Bruce Lindsay Award, the top award given by the Acoustical Society of America to a person under 35 years of age. Lily has also been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Award as well as numerous awards from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for teaching and mentorship.
People Behind the Science Podcast Show Notes
Life Outside of Science
When she’s not in the lab, Lily loves to sing and spend some quality time playing My Little Ponies with her two young daughters.
The Scientific Side
Lily is in the field of architectural acoustics, which helps us understand how sound behaves in buildings, from glamorous concert halls to everyday offices and classrooms.
A Dose of Motivation
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
What Got You Hooked on Science?
Throughout her whole life, Lily has enjoyed music and singing, but also had a fascination with science. Early on, she was very interested in chemistry, but in her current field, she is able to combine both science and sound!
The Low Points: Failures and Challenges
Some of Lily’s biggest struggles happened in graduate school. There weren’t a lot of people doing research in similar areas so there weren’t many people she could ask questions or brainstorm with. She also had limited access to equipment because she came with her own funding, rather than being funded by large institutions like the U.S. Navy.
A Shining Success!
Lily and one of her students have had great success on a project they are working on related to how the background noise levels of a building affect how well students learn.
The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Most Treasured Travel
Though she goes to many different conferences, Lily really enjoys the Concert Hall Research Group Summer Institute conferences because a small group of experts get to visit different concert halls, listen to excellent performances there together, and talk about the exciting science behind it all.
Quirky Traditions and Funny Memories
Lily is a member of the eloquently named NAG (Nebraska Acoustics Group), and they host a game night at during each Acoustical Society meeting where they get together and play board games. The gathering has grown considerably over the years, and last time they had an ironic experience with hotel noise complaints against an esteemed group of acoustical scientists!
Advice For Us All
Don’t let success go to your head or failure go to your heart. Also, there is a lot of hard work involved in science careers, but being passionate about what you do makes it easier to put in the hard work!
Lily’s primary research interests are in room acoustics and noise control. Her recent work has focused on correlating building acoustic conditions to human perception and performance, particularly in office, classroom, and home environments. She is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), a Board-Certified by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, an ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, and a recipient of the ASA Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, ASA R. Bruce Lindsay Award, and ASHRAE Ralph G. Nevins Physiology and Human Environment Award. Recently, Lily served as Vice-President of the ASA for the 2014-17 term.
This episode was originally published on November 7, 2014.