photograph of Dr.Dan Russell in his office with binaural head in the background. Photo taken in 2023.

Dr. Daniel A. Russell


I began my undergraduate studies as a piano performance major, but with a keen interest in science and math. I quickly realized that I was not talented enough to make a living as a professional musician, and after taking a physics course I fell in love with the subject and decided I wanted to be a college physics teacher. I kept up the music, earning a B.Mus. in Piano Performance from Bradley University in 1988 while simultaneously earning a B.S. in Physics. I was able to merge my loves of music and physics while earning a M.S. in Applied Physics from Northern Illinoise University in 1991, writing a thesis on the nonlinear behavior of piano hammers under the supervision of Dr. Thomas D. Rossing. By that time I knew that Acoustics was the subject closest to my heart, so I went to Penn State and earned a Ph.D. in Acoustics in 1995, studying structural vibration and writing a dissertation exploring the theory of fuzzy structures and its applications to waves in plates and shells.

After earning my Ph.D., I spent 16 enjoyable years (1995-2011) on the physics faculty at Kettering Univeristy in Flint, MI. At Kettering I taught introductory and advanced physics to all levels of undergraduate students. I also taught acoustics and vibration to junior/senior engineering and applied physics majors. I developed an acoustics laboratory currently used for faculty and student research projects as well as for an advanced undergraduate laboratory experience in acoustics and vibration. While much of my focus was on physics and acoustics education, I also did research on the acoustics and vibration of sports equipment and musical instruments.

In July 2011 I returned to the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State, where I currently teach graduate level courses in acoustics and vibration to both resident and distance education graduate students. In addition, I oversee, manage and market the distance education component of the acoustics instruction, including oversight of the M.Eng. in Acoustics online degree program offered through the Graduate Program in Acoustics. I also pursue research involving the visualization of acoustic phenomena (animations) for educational purposes, an conduct experimental research involving the structural vibration of sports equipment (baseball and softball bats, hockey sticks, rackets, etc) and musical instruments.

line art of Professor Calculus' shark submarine from Tintin

Acoustics Courses I teach at Penn State:

My Education:

line art of Rocket from Tintin Destination Moon

Websites About My Research in Acoustics:

animated image of longitudinal waves Acoustics and Vibration Animations - mathematically and physically correct animated GIF and MPEG movies illustrating wave and vibration phenomena.

image of a wood baseball batAcoustics of Baseball Bats - acoustical and vibrational behavior of wood, aluminum and composite adult and youth baseball and softball bats.

tuning fork line art

icon image of acoustic guitar Acoustics of Guitars - Sustain time, Guitar pickup response, Modal Analysis, Mechanical Impedance, Frequency Response, (electric and acoustic guitars).

icon of Asterix the GaulMusical Instruments of Antiquity as Illustrated in The Adventures of Asterix the Gaul - Expanded version of a fun paper I presented at an Acoustical Society of America meeting back in 2000.

My Recent Publications and Presentations

My current Resume / CV

Professional Societies to which I belong:

charactature of Cacofonix the Bard from The Adventures of Asterix the Gaul