Robert Heitsenrether, a master’s degree candidate in the Physical Ocean Science and Engineering Program at the University of Delaware Graduate College of Marine Studies, is the recipient of the Acoustical Society of America’s Best Student Paper Award in Acoustical Oceanography.
Founded in 1929, the Acoustical Society of America is dedicated to increasing knowledge of the science of sound and its practical applications. The society has more than 7,000 members from the United States and abroad in fields ranging from oceanography to music.
Graduate students from across the globe presented their research at the society’s international conference last month in Cancún, Mexico. Heitsenrether won first-place honors and a $300 cash prize for his paper, “Influence of Fetch Limited Surface Roughness on Mid-to-High Frequency Acoustic Propagation in Shallow Water.”
Under the direction of his adviser, Professor Mohsen Badiey, Heitsenrether is developing a software model to determine how sea-surface conditions affect the transmission of sound underwater. The research is being conducted in UD’s Ocean Acoustics Laboratory, where scientists are using sound waves and the natural noise in the ocean to develop new techniques for remotely measuring currents, temperature, salinity, and other physical properties critical to the health of coastal waters and marine life.
A native of Somers Point, New Jersey, Heitsenrether has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in physics from Richard Stockton College. He designed software for F-16 fighter jets at Lockheed Martin, in Fort Worth, Texas, for three years before enrolling at the University of Delaware.