Dr. Hanson is associate vice president for research at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and is also a professor of geosciences in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. In his role as associate vice president, Dr. Hanson serves as an advocate for both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research programs at FAU.
An aptitude for math and science in primary and secondary school led Dr. Hanson to Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he participated in the Edmund J. James Scholar Program and graduated in 1972 with high honors, earning his B.S. degree. The James Scholar Program allowed sufficient flexibility in course selection to enable him to design and execute a senior thesis project (“Air Cushion Vehicle Lateral Control,” 1972). This introduction to the world of academic research led him to graduate school, where his environmental upbringing motivated a shift to the earth sciences.
At the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Miami, Dr. Hanson was mentored by Professor Eric B. Kraus, a pioneer in the field of atmosphere-ocean interaction, and earned his Ph.D. from the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography in 1979. He then spent two years as a National Research Council Resident Research Associate at the nearby Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This was followed by an extended appointment at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a joint institute of the NOAA Environmental Research Laboratories and the University of Colorado at Boulder. At CIRES, Dr. Hanson conceived, executed, and reported on a variety of studies on atmosphere-ocean interaction, with emphasis on the behavior of low clouds in the marine boundary layer and their role in climate, and, after several years of pure research, became entrained into administration. This appointment culminated with his serving as a CIRES Fellow and as CIRES deputy director at a time when the institute employed about 300 people and spent approximately $30 million per year.
In 1997, Dr. Hanson was recruited to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, at that time operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by the University of California, to be the department head for the Atmospheric and Climate Sciences Group. After approximately five years in that role, he moved to the Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program office, where he helped to direct the Laboratory’s annual discretionary investment of $100 million per year. In 2005, Dr. Hanson joined Florida Atlantic University in his present role.
Dr. Hanson’s contributions include more than 40 publications in the refereed literature, at least that many other scientific contributions, a variety of lay-public articles, and five novels. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and The Oceanography Society; and he serves as associate editor of Environmental Science & Policy and on the editorial boards of TheScientificWorld and the Encyclopedia of Earth.
E-mail: Howard Hanson