William Hartmann awarded Acoustical Society of America Gold Medal

Posted at 3:27 PM, Aug 02, 2017

William Hartmann, a Michigan State University professor of physics, was awarded the 2017 Acoustical Society of America Gold Medal for his contributions to research and education in psychological acoustics and service to the society.

Hartmann’s research has made significant contributions to the field of acoustics in several areas, including how humans localize sounds in space, processing pitch, perceptual analysis of sounds from different sources and modulation detection. His rigorous experiments regarding pitch perception had considerable impact on theories regarding the subject, and he published a seminal paper on the factors that influence the perceptual organization of a rapid series of sounds.

In addition to theoretically influential research, Hartmann has contributed to acoustical education with extensive publications including two textbooks, teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and organizing several sessions at ASA meetings.

Hartmann said receiving the award is a great honor.

“The Acoustical Society of America is the world's foremost venue for research in acoustics,” he said. “Its scope is vast, extending from the sounds of whales and submarines, to ultrasonic diagnosis and therapy, to auditory physiology, psychology and musical performance. I am grateful to the society for the gold medal, but even more grateful for decades of scientific excitement, camaraderie and fun.”

Hartmann, who joined MSU in 1968, continues to conduct research in psychoacoustics by applying wave physics to the psychology and physiology of hearing. His lab conducts experiments to test models of midbrain processes in collaboration with neuroscientists who make electrophysiological recordings on a variety of mammals.

"Bill Hartmann has established the physics and astronomy department as a center of excellence in acoustics research by carrying out frontline research in the perception of sound; in writing leading textbooks in the area; and through his leadership in the Acoustical Society in many different ways, including serving a term as ASA president,” said Phil Duxbury, physics and astronomy department chair. “He is truly deserving of the highest award of the society—the gold medal. Congratulations Bill!"

Hartmann received his gold medal at an ASA ceremony held in Boston, Mass., on June 27.