Steven Garrett

Adjunct Professor

  • B.S. in Physics, Univ. California – Los Angeles 1970
  • M.S. in Physics, Univ. California – Los Angeles 1972
  • Ph.D. in Physics, Univ. California – Los Angeles 1977

Contact Information


Steven Garrett received his Ph.D. in Physics from UCLA in 1977.  He continued research in quantum fluids at the University of Sussex in England, as the Hunt Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, followed by two years in the Physics Department at the University of California at Berkeley as a Fellow of the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science.   

Dr. Garrett joined the faculty of the Naval Postgraduate School in 1982 where his research efforts were concentrated on the development of fiber-optic sensors and thermoacoustic refrigerators. He left NPS in 1995 to become the United Technologies Professor of Acoustics in the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State and retired in 2016.  In 2001, he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Danish Technical University and in 2008 a Jefferson Fellow in the US State Department where he served as Senior Science Advisor in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.   

Prof. Garrett is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and recipient of the Popular Science Magazine Award for Environmental Technology, the Helen Caldecott Award for Environmental Technology, the Rolex Award for Enterprise (environment category), and has been issued over two dozen patents. 


Areas of Interest 

  • Thermoacoustic engines and refrigerators
  • Sonic gas analyzers
  • Nonlinear acoustics 


Selected Publications 

S. L. Garrett, Understanding Acoustics: An experimentalist’s view of sound and vibration (Springer-ASA Press, 2017); ISBN 978-3-319-49976-5. 

S. L. Garrett, J. A. Smith, R W. M. Smith, B. J. Heidrich, and M. D. Heibel, “Fission-powered in-core thermoacoustic sensor,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 108, 144102 (2016). 

S. L. Garrett and M. E. Poese, There’s (still) plenty of room at the bottom, Appl. Thermal Eng. 61(2), 884-888 (2013). 

S. L. Garrett, Cook stoves and climate change, Acoustics Today 7(2), 14-24 (2011).