Campus Map

Bob Odom

APL-UW Assistant Director & Senior Principal Physicist

Research Associate Professor, Earth and Space Sciences






Bob Odom's expertise is in acoustic and elastic wave propagation. He is principal investigator on projects to model propagation in range-dependent shallow water with elastic bottom effects and to develop improvements to the Navy bottom backscatter/bottom loss models and databases at mid-frequencies.

Dr. Odom holds B.S. M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in physics, nuclear engineering, and geophyics, respectively. He joined the Laboratory in 1990 and now serves as Principal Physicist and Assistant Director for Education and Development. He is also a Research Associate Professor in the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

Department Affiliation

Director's Office


B.S. Physics, University of Washington, 1971

M.S. Nuclear Engineering, University of Washington, 1973

Ph.D. Geophysics, University of Washington, 1980


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Noise background levels and noise event tracking/characterization under the Arctic ice pack: Experiment, data analysis, and modeling

Williams, K.L., M.L. Boyd, A.G. Soloway, E.I. Thorsos, S.G. Kargl, and R.I. Odom, "Noise background levels and noise event tracking/characterization under the Arctic ice pack: Experiment, data analysis, and modeling," IEEE J. Ocean. Eng., 43, 145-159, doi:10.1109/JOE.2017.2677748, 2018.

More Info

1 Jan 2018

In March 2014, an Arctic Line Arrays System (ALAS) was deployed as part of an experiment in the Beaufort Sea (approximate location 72.323 N, 146.490 W). The water depth was greater than 3500 m. The background noise levels in the frequency range from 1 Hz to 25 kHz were measured. The goal was to have a three-dimensional sparse array that would allow determination of the direction of sound sources out to hundreds of kilometers and both direction and range of sound sources out to 1–2 km from the center of the array. ALAS started recording data at 02:12 on March 10, 2014 (UTC). It recorded data nearly continuously at a sample rate of 50 kHz until 11:04 on March 24, 2014. Background noise spectral levels are presented for low and high floe-drift conditions. Tracking/characterization results for ice-cracking events (with signatures typically in the 10–2000-Hz band), including the initiation of an open lead within about 400 m of the array, and one seismic event (with a signature in the 1–40-Hz band) are presented. Results from simple modeling indicate that the signature of a lead formation may be a combination of both previously hypothesized physics and enhanced emissions near the ice plate critical frequency (where the flexural wave speed equals that of the water sound speed). For the seismic event, the T-wave arrival time results indicate that a significant amount of energy coupled to T-wave energy somewhere along the path between the earthquake and ALAS.

Modeling explosion generated Scholte waves in sandy sediments with power law dependent shear wave speed

Soloway, A.G., P.H. Dahl, and R.I. Odom, "Modeling explosion generated Scholte waves in sandy sediments with power law dependent shear wave speed," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 138, EL370-374, doi:10.1121/1.4931831, 2015

More Info

9 Oct 2015

Experimental measurements of Scholte waves from underwater explosions collected off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA in shallow water are presented. It is shown here that the dispersion of these explosion-generated Scholte waves traveling in the sandy seabed can be modeled using a power-law dependent shear wave speed profile and an empirical source model that determines the pressure time-series at 1%u2009m from the source as a function of TNT-equivalent charge weight.

Sounds in the ocean at 1–100 Hz

Wilcock, W.S.D., K.M. Stafford, R.K. Andrew, and R.I. Odom, "Sounds in the ocean at 1–100 Hz," Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 6, 117-140, doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-121211-172423, 2014.

More Info

1 Jan 2014

Very-low-frequency sounds between 1 and 100 Hz propagate large distances in the ocean sound channel. Weather conditions, earthquakes, marine mammals, and anthropogenic activities influence sound levels in this band. Weather-related sounds result from interactions between waves, bubbles entrained by breaking waves, and the deformation of sea ice. Earthquakes generate sound in geologically active regions, and earthquake T waves propagate throughout the oceans. Blue and fin whales generate long bouts of sounds near 20 Hz that can dominate regional ambient noise levels seasonally. Anthropogenic sound sources include ship propellers, energy extraction, and seismic air guns and have been growing steadily. The increasing availability of long-term records of ocean sound will provide new opportunities for a deeper understanding of natural and anthropogenic sound sources and potential interactions between them.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center