David R. Hanson

Assistant Professor

Science Hall 401
CB 122

Something about how my graduate advisor did science sunk in:

“Put everything into it but preserve a balance”,  “Celebrate success, appreciate setbacks”,  “Be humble but be excited too.”

With enthusiasm and energy directed in these ways one is ‘in the game’, interacting with others, and results may have a big impact.  I went on to a productive first-half career working at two national laboratories in Colorado.

After about fifteen years of atmospheric chemistry research I joined Augsburg Chemistry in the summer of 2006: half my time dedicated to teaching and half to research (‘a heckuva deal’).  My experience at Augsburg with the synergism of these two roles provides a balance that enhances one’s overall performance and makes science more enjoyable.  I remember being impressed with my graduate advisor’s (Dr. Mauersberger) manner, professionalism, and impact, and I see that he exemplified this dual role.

The chemistry courses I took as a pre-med undergraduate student opened up my graduate school projects to a focus on the physical chemistry of the atmosphere, specifically the formation of the clouds that lead to the polar ozone holes.  Since then, my chemistry research has been extended to include chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, and even some organic chemistry!


  • B.S.,  University of Minnesota, Physics, 1983
  • Ph.D.,  University of Minnesota, Physics, 1989

Research Interests

Atmospheric Chemistry: “a kg of physical, a L of analytical, and aliquots of inorganic and organic chemistry.”

Current Projects:

  • Particle nucleation experiments in the laboratory, that simulate new particle formation.
  • Trace gas detection in the atmosphere: amines, volatile organic compounds.
  • Instrument development.

My current research on particle formation is important for urban air quality and global climate issues.  We are also measuring a variety of trace species in the atmosphere in field campaigns across the nation and also here from the 4th floor of Science Hall.  There are a number of undergraduate students supported by external grants that are doing research on these important topics.

A link to some recent work:   http://web.augsburg.edu/~hansondr/