The History of Discoveries on Hearing: Land, Air, and Water


Dr. Doris Meyerdierks (Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg) 

Speaker/Lead Participants 

Prof. Dr. Darlene R. Ketten, Hearing Research Center, Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, and Chief Scientist CT Imaging Facility, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts (USA), former HWK Fellow 

Prof. em. Dr. Arthur N. Popper, Dept. of Biology, University of Maryland, USA (Senior SHAR editor) 


  • Prof. em. Bernd U. Budelmann, Dept. Of Neurosciences, University of Texas, Galveston, (USA)  

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, Dept. of Biology, University of Southern Denmark 

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Allison Coffin (co-editor), Neurosciences, Washington State University, (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. H. Steven Colburn, Hearing Research Center, Biomedical Engineering, Boston University (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. Robert J. Dooling, Dept. of Psychology, University of Maryland (USA) 

  • Prof. em. H. Carl Gerhardt, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri (USA) 

  • Dr. Anthony D. Hawkins, Loughine Ltd., Kincraig, Blairs, Aberdeen (UK) 

  • Prof. Dr. Henry E. Heffner, Dept. of Psychology, University of Toledo, Ohio (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. Rickye S. Heffner, Dept. of Psychology, University of Toledo, Ohio (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. Ronald R. Hoy, Dept. of Neurobiology & Behavior, Cornell University, New York (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. Georg M. Klump, Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Oldenburg (Germany) 

  • Prof. Dr. Geoffrey A. Manley, Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Oldenburg (Germany) 

  • Prof. Dr. Peter M. Narins, Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. Olav Sand. Dept. of Biosciences, University of Oslo (Norway) 

  • Prof. Dr. Andrea M. Simmons, Dept. of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University, Rhode Island (USA) 

  • Prof. Dr. James A. Simmons, Dept. of Neuroscience, Brown University, Rhode Island (USA) 

  • Prof. em. Dr. Douglas Wartzok, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, (USA) 

  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yi Zhou, Speech and Hearing Science, Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University (USA) 


2018 – 2021 


The concept of this international study group within the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg is to jointly develop a book on the history of auditory research. The group is to intended bring together scientists with both the experience and interest to produce a series of chapters that authoritatively examine the most formative studies that led to current understanding of hearing across aquatic and terrestrial species and habitats and that continue to influence hearing research worldwide.  

A twelve-chapter volume is planned for publication in the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research (SHAR) series. One to three "lead authors" have been named for each of the twelve planned chapters. Among the authors, besides Prof. Darlene Ketten (Fellow 2015, 2017/2018), is another HWK alumnus, Prof. Dr. H. Steven Colburn, Boston University (HWK Fellow 1999). 

The principal facet of the planned volume that makes it appropriate for a study group within the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg is that this volume requires a highly coordinated approach for all of the chapters in order to present the historical ideas in the most effective way. Typically, a SHAR volume is a compendium of recent advances around a common theme, with each chapter a distinct review of some subset of the general theme. Chapters in those cases are not coordinated other than minimally; i.e., they are written for a broad audience with a focus on basic concepts of current research.     

This volume, in contrast, must be written with a common approach and organization.  We believe that this can best be achieved through a series of meetings that will acquaint the authors with each other and permit an interchange of ideas and information, specifically an open discussion of seminal pioneering research that may have influenced more than one of the subdivisions of the volume.  In effect, for the volume to succeed requires a cross-pollination of ideas and quite likely some collegial cross-education about studies outside the specialty represented by each chapter.


The final result of this HWK study group will be an edited volume to be published as part of the highly respected Springer Handbook of Auditory Research (SHAR) series, the most extensive series of books on auditory sciences. SHAR currently has over 68 volumes, with 10 more being planned. The series was established by Arthur Popper and Richard Fay, both of whom will be co-editors of this volume. Springer has agreed already to publish this volume; therefore, there is a guaranteed product from the proposed HWK funding.

The goal of this volume is to introduce, review, and demonstrate the value of exemplary pioneering studies by investigators who formed the basis of our knowledge of hearing as well as generating questions that are still germane today. The significance of this volume is that it not only shares information about important, innovative research but also serves as an introduction that will endure and be of value for auditory neuroscience investigators in the future. The proposed volume is intended primarily to introduce students and new investigators to hearing research as it evolved as well as giving a grounding in hearing mechanisms in both terrestrial and aquatic species and how some species have evolved specializations, such as biosonar or infra and ultrasonic hearing. We believe it is important to bring to light the methodologies and discoveries on hearing for the benefit and growth of new productive research in audition. 


September 4, 2020: Virtual Kick-off meeting due to Corona-pandemic incl. Guest Lecture “Conveying historical scientific events” by Dr. Pippa Goldschmidt, former HWK Writer in Residence