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Chen Jer-Ming
Senior Lecturer
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Room Number: 1.402.34

Research Interests: Music Acoustics, Voice Science, Audio Processing AI


Announcements (August 2018)

PhD Opportunity: If you have a strong background in Physics or Engineering and keen to undertake research projects in Music Acoustics, Speech Acoustics, Bioacoustic Diagnostics or Interdisciplinary Acoustics at SUTD, please contact me. A range of fully funded PhD Scholarships are available.

Research Student Assistant: I am looking for keen students to assist in an organological survey of various Asian musical instruments. The student assistant should be conversant with basic signal processing techniques and MATLAB, and also skilled in the design and fabrication of mechanical testing rigs. Proficiency with some of these musical instruments would be preferred but is not a requirement. Remuneration will be generous, on an hourly basis, and commitment is flexible.

Research Student Assistant: I am looking for keen students to assist in surveying the acoustic phonetics of Asian languages. The student assistant should be conversant with basic signal processing techniques and MATLAB, and have a working knowledge of basic speech science. Proficiency with these languages is not required but would be helpful. Remuneration will be generous, on an hourly basis, and commitment is flexible.



Dr. Chen Jer-Ming is a senior lecturer at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), following his previous appointment as Australian Post-Doctoral (APD) research fellow (Australian Research Council) at the Music Acoustics Laboratory, University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

Combining a passion for music with a background in mechanical engineering and applied physics, Jer-Ming’s primary research interest is music acoustics and speech science. His contributions to the field have been widely recognized, including a paper published in the journal ‘Science’, co-receiving the 2010 “Excellence in Acoustics Award “ from the Australian Acoustical Society, and being nominated a Lindau Fellow for the 60th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates (2010).

A believer in science communication, Jer-Ming has also written lay-language scientific papers, established a saxophone acoustics database for players, and has featured in the international media and popular press, including newspapers (e.g. New York Times, UK Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald), TV & radio documentaries (BBC, ABC, Network Ten), popular science magazines (Physics Today, Scientific American, The Straight Dope), and even presented for a children’s science program (Scope by Network Ten & CSIRO, Australia).

Further, Jer-Ming is an accomplished musician, composer and arranger, and performs on musical instruments from several musical traditions, seeking to push the overlapping boundaries of music, science and technology. When not in the laboratory or making music, he enjoys meeting new cultures and good friends over a cup of Darjeeling.


  • PhD in Physics (Music Acoustics), University of New South Wales, 2010
  • Master of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 2004
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, 2002

Research Interests

My primary interest is the physics of music – Musical Acoustics. A fundamental puzzle in the field is to understand how and why certain musical performances sound so remarkable – Is it the instrument? Or the performer? Or perhaps it is in their interaction? To find out, I study various modes of music performance, the player’s interaction with the instrument and the physics involved. A related puzzle is that of the human voice as used in speech and singing: activities fundamental to human communication and expression, but still not well understood yet in terms of the physical mechanisms responsible.

  • Music Acoustics: Vocal tract interactions in woodwind and brass performance
  • Voice Acoustics: Tracking acoustic properties of the vocal tract during speech
  • Audio Processing AI: Bioacoustic signals for medical diagnostic screening
  • Other interests: Music performance and player-instrument interaction; Acoustic phonetics; Ethnomusic organology; Cryogenic materials processing

Journal Publications (selected)

Book Publications

  • Jer Ming Chen, John Smith and Joe Wolfe (2011). “Chapter 21: Experienced Saxophonists Learn to Tune Their Vocal Tracts”, Human Communication Science: A Compendium, edited by Robert Dale, Denis Burnham and Catherine J. Stevens, ARC Research Network in Human Communication Science (ISBN: 978-1-74138-363-8), Australia, 441-445
  • Salleh M. Nor, Abhimanyu Veerakumarasivam, Normi M. Yahaya, Chen Jer Ming, Oh Pei Ching, Siti N. Abu Bakar, and Nitia K. Samuel (2011). Educated, Inspired, Connected: the Malaysian Experience at the 60th Nobel Laureate Meeting at Lindau, Akademi Sains Malaysia (ISBN: 978-983-9445-61-9), Kuala Lumpur

Awards & Achievements (selected)

  • International Congress of Acoustics (ICA) 2013 Montréal: Acoustical Society of America WIA-Committee Young Investigator Travel Grant, Australian Acoustical Society NSW Division Early Career Researcher Travel Award, International Commission for Acoustics Young Scientist Conference Attendance Grant
  • 2011 School of Physics nominee for the UNSW University Committee Prize for Excellence in Science
  • Australian Post-Doctoral Industry Research Fellow (2012-14)
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Project Grant (LP110100570), total grant awarded: AUD$245,538, funding period 2012 to 2014.
  • National finalist, representing New South Wales for the 2011 Australian Institute of Physics Bragg Gold Medal (“the best PhD thesis by a student from an Australian University”), nominated by UNSW
  • The 2010 Excellence in Acoustics Award presented to the team: Joe Wolfe, Jer Ming Chen, Paul Dickens & John Smith, awarded by Bradford Insulation and the Australian Acoustical Society
  • Lindau Fellow at the 60th Interdisciplinary Meeting of Nobel Laureates (2010), Lindau (Germany), nominated by the Academy of Science Malaysia
  • Bosch Fellow at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 2010, Torino (Italy), sponsored by the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH
  • UNSW Faculty Research Grant Project (FRGP) 2009, “Acoustic Interactions in Harmonic Singing””
  • Best Student Paper, Acoustics’08, Paris, awarded by the Acoustical Society of America (Chris Waltham: “The best talk I heard at the meeting… a masterly fusion of physics and artistry.”)
  • Discovery Grant Postgraduate Scholarship (2006-2009), awarded by the Australian Research Council
  • The National University of Singapore (NUS) Research Scholarship (2002-2004)
  • Dean’s List Award (2001-2002), awarded by the National University of Singapore

Media Interviews, Science Communication and Outreach (selected)