• E.Sc.D., Columbia University, 1970
  • M.S., Columbia University, 1966
  • B.C.E., The Cooper Union, 1965

Research Areas

  • Acoustics and Dynamics; Structural vibrations and acoustics, dynamics, modal identification, and turbomachinery diagnostics
Matt Allen (B.S. Brigham Young University, M.S./Ph.D. Georgia Tech), Bassem Zaki (B.S. American University in Cairo, M.S. Georgia Tech), Ben Wagner (B.S. Clemson University, M.S. North Carolina State University), and Dr. Jerry Ginsberg demonstrating the modal analysis for a rotordynamic system.
Displacement amplitude contours as a function of excitation frequency and position along the length of a beam with a tuned vibration absorber.


Dr. Ginsberg's research areas have been very broad and have changed regularly to suit his interests and observations as to where he and his students might have the greatest impact. His work is generally devoted to finding mathematical and computational solutions that are more efficient, and provide greater insight, than the standard finite element and finite difference techniques. Many experiments have been carried out to support theoretical results he and his students have obtained. He began at Tech in 1980 as a Professor. He was named the first holder of the Woodruff Chair in Mechanical Systems in 1988. Prior, he was an Assistant and Associate Professor at Purdue University.


The primary foci for Dr. Ginsberg's work are improvement of techniques for experimental modal analysis (EMA), and turbomachinery diagnostics. EMA is probably the most widely performed experimental task in the area of vibrations. It seeks to extract the modal properties of a machine or structure from measurements of its dynamic response. These parameters, which describe the free vibration of a system, represent fundamental building blocks that can be used to predict a dynamic systems response and to redesign a system in order to reduce vibration and noise levels. Despite the wide use of EMA, and the availability of sophisticated electronic systems to assist in that effort, fundamental questions and limitations remain. These uncertainties drastically lessen the accuracy and reliability of the analysis, and require that an individual must have extensive past experience and good intuition.

Another endeavor for Dr. Ginsberg and his students is devoted to modeling and analyzing turbomachinery, such as turbines and electricity generators. Present techniques require substantial expertise to develop and are unreliable. Dr. Ginsberg is developing a simpler alternative that retains the accuracy of the best of present approaches by merging a principle presented more than a century ago with modern computer capabilities. The resulting model is evaluated for its predictions of unstable and critical rotation rates as well as the response to imbalance.

These models are used in combination with the Mode Isolation technique for EMA, in order to identify fundamental system properties that can be used for condition-based monitoring of rotating machinery. Improvements in that capability would lead to substantial cost reductions and greater safety, especially in the power generation and aviation industries.

Students working with Dr. Ginsberg in topics such as these have been employed by the automotive, aviation, and ship building industries, by research laboratories, by consulting companies, and as university faculty. Both projects provide a solid expertise in all aspects of dynamical system behavior. Graduating students should be equally well suited for employment as designers, as analysts verifying designs, as maintenance engineers capable of troubleshooting, as field engineers, and as high-level researchers.


Corrected Answers for Engineering Dynamics (PDF)
Mechanical and Structural Vibrations - Theory and Applications (Errata) [PDF]
Mechanical and Structural Vibrations - Theory and Applications (Answers) [PDF]


  • Acoustical Society of America
    • Rossing Prize in Acoustics Education, 2010
    • Trent-Crede Medal, 2005
    • Journal of the Acoustical Society of America  Associate Editor, 2000-present
    • Atlanta Meeting Technical Chair, 2000
    • Structural Acoustics and Vibration Technical Committee Chair, 1997-2000
    • Best Student Paper in Structural Acoustics Prize for James Gregory McDaniel and Pei-Tai Chen (Ph.D. students), 1992 and 1991, respectively
    • Book Committee Chair, 1991-present
    • Fellow, 1988
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • Per Bruel Gold Medal for Noise Control and Acoustics for significant contributions as a scientist and as an educator, 2007
    • International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
      • Noise Control and Acoustics Division Special Lecture, 2003
      • Rayleigh Lecture, 2001
    • Journal of Vibration and Acoustics  Associate Editor, 2000-present
    • Design Engineering Technical Conference Keynote Address, 1997
    • Fellow, 1989
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Distinguished Professor Award, 1994
    • Commencement Speaker, Summer 1994
  • Rensselaer Institute of Technology Sadowsky Distinguished Lecture, 2002
  • American Society for Engineering Education Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award, 1998
  • Chinese Society of Vibrations and Acoustics Second Annual Meeting Keynote Speech in Keelung, Taiwan, 1994

Representative Publications

  • B. B. Wagner and J. H. Ginsberg. 2005. On the Merits of Using Standard and Directional Frequency Response Functions to Perform Experimental Modal Analysis. Proceedings, 23rd International Modal Analysis Conference (IMAC). Orlando, Florida.
  • J. H. Ginsberg and M. Allen. 2004. A Linear Least-Squares Version of the Algorithm of Mode Isolation for Identifying Modal Properties. Part I: Conceptual Development. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 116, 900-907.
  • J. H. Ginsberg. 2002. On the Effect of Viscosity in Scattering from Partially Coated Infinite Cylinders. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 112, 46-54.
  • J. H. Ginsberg. 2001. Mechanical and Structural Vibrations: Theory and Applications. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.
  • J. H. Ginsberg. 1995. Advanced Engineering Dynamics, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, New York.