Associate Professor Lars Hansen receives prestigious American Geophysical Union award

Hansen is first faculty member in 60 years to receive the James B. Macelwane Medal

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (10/06/2022)—University of Minnesota Twin Cities Associate Professor Lars Hansen is one of only five scientists nationwide to win a 2022 American Geophysical Union (AGU) James B. Macelwane Medal. The award honors the recipients’ contributions to the earth and space science fields based on their depth and breadth of research, impact, creativity as well as service, outreach, and diversity.

Hansen is a faculty member in the University’s N.H. Winchell School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. This marks the first time in the school’s 60-year history that an active faculty member has won the medal. 

“We’re proud to see Professor Hansen win this award, which honors early career earth and space scientists who have demonstrated tremendous depth, breadth, and creativity of research and a dedication to teaching, outreach, and enhancing the diversity of the sciences,” said Justin Revenaugh, professor and department head in the N.H. Winchell School of Earth & Environmental Sciences. “Professor Hansen studies the deformation of rocks under the high pressures and temperatures found in Earth's mantle, which is incredibly important for understanding how the behavior of Earth's interior shapes the planet's surface.”

Hansen runs the Rock and Mineral Physics Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, where he and his team use lab-based experiments to investigate the physical properties of geological materials. Their research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of rock deformation at the atomic scale and how those mechanisms control the dynamics of the solid Earth at the scale of tectonic plates.

Hansen received his bachelor’s degree in earth science from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and master’s degree in geology at the University of Wyoming before completing his Ph.D. in geophysics at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2012. Before joining the N.H. Winchell School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, he was an associate professor at University of Oxford in England.

AGU will formally recognize this year’s recipients during the AGU22 Fall Meeting in December.

Learn more about Hansen and his lab’s research.