Stephen Birkett

Associate Professor

Contact InformationStephen Birkett

Phone: 519-888-4567 x33792
Location: E3 3158


Biography Summary

Stephen Birkett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

His research interests are in piano design, organology, physical systems, animal growth modelling, and environmental systems.

Professor Birkett has now completed the bulk of his research in early iron and is in the process of starting to draw wire for pianos. He has been working with high-speed imaging of various fortepiano actions. The P-wire has been thoroughly researched, developed and tested over the past decade by Professor Birkett, and is about to enter commercial production. It is drawn in the proportional Nuremburg sizes and has been reported to have the added advantage of natural corrosion resistance.

Research Interests

  • Piano Design
  • Organology
  • Physical Systems
  • Animal Growth Modelling
  • Environmental Systems
  • Computer Simulation Of Systems
  • Modeling & Simulation


  • 1990, Doctorate, PhD, University of Waterloo
  • 1986, Master's, MASc, University of Waterloo
  • 1976, Bachelor's, BSc, University of London,King's College


  • SYDE 114 - Numerical and Applied Calculus
  • SYDE 312 - Applied Linear Algebra
  • SYDE 351 - Systems Models 1

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Masoudi, Ramin and Birkett, Stephen, Experimental validation of a mechanistic multibody model of a vertical piano action, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics, 10(6), 2015
  • Birkett, Stephen, The slippery path from piano key to string, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 136(4), 2014, 2132 - 2132
  • Masoudi, Ramin and Birkett, Stephen and McPhee, John, A Mechanistic Multibody Model for Simulating the Dynamics of a Vertical Piano Action, Journal of Computational and Nonlinear Dynamics, 9(3), 2014
  • Birkett, Stephen, Experimental investigation of the piano hammer-string interaction, The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 133(4), 2013, 2467 - 2478