• Emeritus
Staff Record
Photo of Joe Wolfe

Joe Wolfe


+61(2) 9385 4954


+61(2) 9385 6060



As well as teaching in the School of Physics, I teach a MOOC (a large, free, on-line course) called Particles to Planets.

Research Group(s): 


  • BSc Qld,
  • BA UNSW,
  • PhD ANU

Research Interests: 

The physics of music and speech, and cellular and ecological biophysics.

Our group studies the acoustics of the voice and of musical instruments. We also look at more general issues such as instrumental technologies, speech perception and information content of music. We have developed a technique for rapid, precise measurement of acoustic impedance spectra and transfer functions under a range of conditions. We use this technique to study musical instruments and the human vocal tract and its involvement in speech, singing and wind instrument performance, and various interactions between player and instrument during performance, including control of pitch, loudness, timbre and articulation.

Important examples of cellular thermodynamics occur in cryobiology and anhydrobiology. Many living tissues are damaged by freezing and/or dehydration. I study the thermal physics of these processes at scales from the ultrastructural to the environmental.

Honours, Awards and Memberships: 

Awards for research

  • The Australian Acoustical Society: the 2010 Excellence in Acoustics Award (presented to Joe and the Acoustics lab at UNSW).
  • The French Acoustical Society: the Society's International Medal (la Médaille Étrangère) in 2004.
  • The Australian Acoustical Society: the 2004 Excellence in Acoustics Award (presented to Joe and the Acoustics lab at UNSW).
  • Acoustical Society of America: the 2003 Science Writing Award for Professionals in Acoustics.
  • Fellow of the Acoustical Societies of Australia and America.

Awards for teaching and outreach

Selected Publications: 

My publications are listed (and often available) on this link. Here are a selected few: