The Acoustics Group was established 1976, shortly after the foundation of the University of Oldenburg. Volker Mellert (as university professor), Ulrich Radek and Reinhard Weber (both as senior scientists) moved from the University of Göttingen (3. Physikalisches Institut) to the young Oldenburg University. Ulrich Radek was one of the responsible managers for the scientific and educational contents of the new Physics Department. It was decided during the foundation phase of Oldenburg University that physics should focus on environmental problems, like pollution and renewable energy. Therefore, the acoustics started to investigate environmental noise, i.e. looking at the emission from traffic and industry, the propagation outdoors, and the perception of sound by the human. These topics drove the activity of the Acoustics Group up to date. During the last 30 years, in particular wave (noise) propagation in the atmosphere and the perception of sound (psychoacoustics) developed as a focus of research.
Acoustics is a cross-sectional discipline: The Acoustics Group worked successfully together with other activities in environmental physics in Oldenburg like Applied Optics (vibration investigation) and marine remote sensing (underwater acoustics). The Acoustics Group worked closely with the Psychology Department (August Schick) and established the first school for graduate studies at Oldenburg University (Graduate School of Psychoacoustics). The graduate school contributed significantly to the preparation of the meanwhile renowned Medical Physics Group (Birger Kollmeier) of Oldenburg University. The applied psychoacoustics, i.e. the perception of environmental noise and machinery noise became a major focus of research in the Acoustics Group, which results in numerous research and development projects with the car and aeronautical industry.
The Acoustics Group is part of the applied and technical physics in Oldenburg. Since there is no department of engineering at Oldenburg University, cooperation was sought after research and education in technical disciplines. This was the basis for setting up a new study programme in Engineering Physics together with the University of Applied Science in Emden and in Oldenburg in 1999. This programme, which aims in particular also at foreign students, is such successful that today at Oldenburg University about half of the Bachelor and Master students with focus in physics are enrolled in this programme.
The experimental activity of the Acoustics Group developed after Oldenburg University moved 1986 into the new campus for natural science, which provided new laboratories and a huge anechoic chamber.
The Acoustics Group organized twice the annual meeting of the German acoustical society (DAGA) in 1986 and in 2000, and numerous smaller national and international events and workshops.
Volker Mellert retired end of the summer term 2009. Steven van de Par was appointed new head of the Acoustics Group in 2010.