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Clarence J. and Patricia R. Woodard Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Ronald Hanson

Clarence J. and Patricia R. Woodard Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Professor Hanson has been an international leader in the development of laser-based diagnostic methods for combustion and propulsion, and in the development of modern shock tube methods for accurate determination of chemical reaction rate parameters needed for modeling combustion and propulsion systems. He and his students have made several pioneering contributions that have impacted the pace of propulsion research and development worldwide. During his career at Stanford, Professor Hanson has successfully managed over 100 research contracts and grants, with a total value well over $50 million. He and his students have authored over 1300 publications.

Professor Hanson is a fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Optical Society of America. He has received the Egerton Gold Medal and is an Inaugural Fellow of the Combustion Institute, and has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering. He is also an Inaugural Distinguished Fellow of the International Shock Wave Institute and the winner of the R. Soloukhin Medal from the Institute for Dynamics of Explosions and Reactive Systems. He is, perhaps, most happy about the recognition that his students have received for their publications, including Best Paper Awards from the AIAA Ground Test Conference, AIAA Propellant and Combustion Section, and the Combustion Institute Silver Medal. Recent awards include the 2023 Julius Springer Award for Applied Physics, a 2023 AIAA SciTech Outstanding Paper Award, and the selection as an Inaugural Distinguished Fellow from the The International Shock Wave Institute in 2022.

Professor Hanson has graduated over 115 Ph.D. candidates and supervised over 20 postdoctoral scholars and research associates. Thirty-four of his students have gone on to become professors including: Varghese (University of Texas at Austin), Louge (Cornell University), Kirby (Cornell University), Wooldridge (University of Michigan), Mertens (Trinity College), Song (Yonsei University), Rossmann (Lafayette College), Sanders (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Ben-Yakar (University of Texas at Austin), Webber (University of Texas at Austin), Oehlschlaeger (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Ma (University of Virginia), Koch (Trine University), Lee (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Rothamer (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Petersen (Texas A&M), Seitzman (Georgia Tech), Linne (University of Edinburgh), Yoo (SUNY Buffalo), Porter (Colorado School of Mines), Liu (University of Washington), Vasu (University of Central Florida), Ren (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Rieker (University of Colorado Boulder), Farooq (KAUST), Goldenstein (Purdue University), Spearrin (University of California at Los Angeles), Sun (Tongji University), Chao (Tsinghua University), Wang (Peking University), and Shao (Beijing Institute of Technology). He is currently supervising approximately 20 M.S. and Ph.D. graduate students.

Additional Appointments

Honorary Professorship, Xi'an Jiaotong University, China, from 2014
Honorary Professorship, Northwestern Polytechnic University, China, from 2014
Chair, International Advisory Committee, Clean Combustion Research Center, Tsinghua University, China, from 2010
Professor, by courtesy, of Aeronautics and Astronautics


Laser diagnostics and sensors, shock wave physics and chemistry, laser spectroscopy, chemical kinetics, combustion science, and advanced propulsion


2022 - Distinguished Fellow of the International Shock Wave Institute (ISWI)
2021 - Special Dedicated Combustion and Flame February Issue
2020 - 100th Beacon Lecture, Tsinghua University
2019 - Pratt and Whitney Distinguished Lecture Award
2018 - Inaugural Fellow, The Combustion Institute
2016 - Energy Systems Award, AIAA
2016 - H. S. Tsien Professorship, China Academy of Sciences
2015 - Milton Van Dyke Award, American Physical Society
2015 - David Goodwin Memorial Lecture, Caltech, inaugural speaker
2014 - Honorary Prof. Appt. at Xi'an Jiaotong U. & Northwestern Polytechnic U., China
2013 - Outstanding Paper of 2013, J. of Measurement Science and Technology
2013 - Arch T. Colwell Award (co-winner), SAE
2013 - Best Paper of 2013, Measurement Science and Technology
2013 - Plenary Lecture at International Conference on Chemical Kinetics, Spain
2013 - Edison Lecture, University of Notre Dame
2012 - Paper selected for "Highlights of 2011-2012" collection of Measurement Science and Technology
2012 - Top 20 Most Published Author (Past 50 years), Applied Optics
2011 - Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, Germany
2011 - Crocco Colloquium Lecture, Princeton University
2011 - Fowler Distinguished Lecture, Texas A&M University
2011 - Arch T. Colwell Award from SAE, co-author
2011 - Best Paper Award, Propellants and Combustion, AIAA, co-author
2011 - R.I. Soloukhin Award, International Colloquium on the Dynamics of Explosions and Reactive Systems
2010 - Hottel Lecturer, 33rd International Combustion Symposium
2008 - Egerton Gold Medal, The Combustion Institute
2005 - Propellants and Combustion Award, AIAA
2004 - Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
2002 - Elected to National Academy of Engineering (NAE)
2002 - Silver Medal, Combustion Institute
2000 - Best Paper of 2000, Journal of Measurement Science and Technology
1997 - Best Paper Award, Ground Test Conference, AIAA
1997 - Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
1996 - Aerodynamic Measurement Technology award from the AIAA (first recipient)
1990 - Fellow, Optical Society of America (OSA)


M.Sc., Arizona State University, Mechanical Engineering (1965)
B.S., Oregon State University, Mechanical Engineering (1961)
Ph.D., Stanford University, Aeronautics and Astronautics (1968)