Tim Gallati and the Quiet Links Library

Photo credit: Tim Gallati. Gallati, photographed by Gordon Hempton, during a six-week backpacking trip for One Square Inch of Silence.

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Jamie Banks, founder of Quiet Communities, Inc., spoke at a webinar sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility in late January. The title, “Noise: A Public Health Problem,” is similar to that of the updated policy statement from the American Public Health Association, written by the APHA’s Noise Committee that Jamie chairs and I serve on. Those efforts and the new definition of noise are among our many efforts to dispel the notion that noise is just a nuisance, and replace it with the knowledge that excessive noise has serious health consequences.

Arline Bronzaft and I joined Jamie after her talk to answer questions. The next day we received an email from one of the attendees, Tim Gallati, informing us of the Quiet Links Library that he developed. The library is a public resource where visitors can search over 25,000 research articles on noise and quiet. Since Tim lives near me in Los Angeles, we met for lunch a few days later.

We had a wonderful discussion during lunch. Tim has a fascinating background, including training as a librarian and working for multinational computer technology company Oracle. He took time off to pursue a degree from Harvard Divinity School, during which time he worked with pioneering acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton and his Sound Tracker. Tim later served on the board of Hempton’s Quiet Parks International. His interest is in quiet experiences in nature and meditation.

It was clear to me that Tim and those of us involved with Quiet Communities and the Quiet Coalition have common interests. While I’m not certain how our work together might evolve, I am certain that it will be beneficial for everyone. Several of my publications in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics that Time will be added to the Quiet Links Library.

I’ll close with a brief commentary on modern communications, which I’ve been thinking about since my lunch with Tim. As we learned from the world’s experiences during COVID lockdowns, much can be accomplished in business and scientific exchanges using meeting software, phone calls, file sharing and more. The advantages of remote meetings include lower costs to attend; no need to travel, allowing those with limited budgets, family responsibilities or difficulties obtaining visas to participate; the ability to attend the meeting wearing sweat pants and sitting at one’s home computer; and the ability to multitask while attending. Using remote meeting software, I presented papers at both the Acoustical Society of America and the International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise in 2021.

But there’s still something to be gained from meeting someone in person, shaking hands and sharing a beer. Or, as in my lunch with Tim, being face-to-face and sharing a meal with another human being.

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