James R. Hansen is Alumni Associate Professor of History and chair of the Department of History at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. He is the author of three books as well as several book chapters, articles, and reviews in aerospace history and the history of technology. His books include: Engineer in Charge: A History of the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, 1917-1958, which was published by NASA in 1987, and From the Ground Up: The Autobiography of an Aeronautical Engineer, co-authored by American aviation pioneer Fred E. Weick and published by the Smithso nian Institution Press in 1988. The latter book received the History Book Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Professor Hansen has received a number of citations for his historical scholarship, including the Robert H. Goddard Award from the National Space Club and distinctions of excellence from the Air Force Historical Foundation and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 1986 1987 he gave historical talks around the country as an AIAA Distinguished Lecturer. He has served on a number of important advisory boards and panels, including the Research Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum, the Editorial Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institution Press, the Board of Advisers for the Society for the History of Technology, and the Advisory Board for the Archives of Aerospace Exploration at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is also a past vice-president of the board of directors of the Virginia Air and Space Center and Hampton Roads History Center in Hampton, Virginia.
At Auburn University, Dr. Hansen teaches courses on the history of flight, the history of science, space history, as well as a large auditorium class that surveys the history of technology from ancient times to the present or, as he puts it, "from Australopithecus to Arthur Clarke."
Hansen earned an A.B. degree, with high honors, from Indiana University (1974) and an M.A. (1976) and Ph.D. (1981) from The Ohio State University. He was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on 12 June 1952. He is married to Margaret Anne M iller-Hansen and has two children, Nathaniel and Jennifer.