• Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1985
  • M.S., Kansas State University, 1980
  • B.S. (Math), Kansas State University, 1977
  • B.S. (ME), Kansas State University, 1975


Research Areas and Descriptors


G. P. “Bud” Peterson is currently President Emeritus and Regents Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he served as the 11th president from April 1, 2009 through August 31, 2019. Under his leadership Georgia Tech grew innovative collaborations and strategic partnerships locally; expanded its global reach and impact, with a focus on innovation; exceeded the capital campaign goal of $1.5 billion by 20%; and more than doubled the new research awards, exceeding $1 Billion for the first time in 2019. In 2011, Georgia Tech was invited to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), the first university to be admitted in 10 years.

Peterson came to Georgia Tech from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he served as Chancellor. In his three years as Chancellor, freshman applications increased by 35%, sponsored research increased by more than 18%, and private philanthropy for the university increased by nearly 80%. He previously served as provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York and was a member of the faculty at Texas A&M for nearly 20 years, serving in numerous administrative roles, including Associate Vice Chancellor for Engineering for the Texas A&M University System, Executive Associate Dean of Engineering, and Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. During his career he has served as a visiting research scientist at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Program Director for the National Science Foundation and Associate Professor and Head of the General Engineering Technology Department at Kansas Technical Institute in Salina, Kansas.

Throughout his career, Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national research and education agendas, serving as a member of a number of congressional task forces, research councils, and advisory boards. A distinguished scientist, he was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush to the National Science Board (NSB),which oversees the NSF and advises the President and Congress on matters related to science and engineering research and education, and in 2014 was reappointed to the board by President Barack Obama. He has served on the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), and was appointed by President Obama to the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) 2.0 Steering Committee. In 2018 he was appointed by Vice President Mike Pence to the National Space Council – User Advisory Group. He most recently served as a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and as Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors.

A Fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is the author or co-author of 17 books or book chapters, 255 refereed journal articles, and 145 conference publications. He has 18 patents, with four others pending. 

Peterson earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, a second bachelor's degree in Mathematics, and a master's degree in Engineering, all from Kansas State University. He earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Val, have four adult children, two of whom are Georgia Tech alumni and four grandchildren.


Research interests focus on the fundamental aspects of phase-change heat transfer, including the heat transfer in reduced gravity environments, boiling from enhanced surfaces, and some of the earliest work in the area of flow and phase-change heat transfer in microchannels. Early investigations focused on applications involving the thermal control of manned and unmanned spacecraft and progressed through applications of phase-change heat transfer to the thermal control of electronic components and devices. This work resulted in several innovative concepts and a number of patents.

More recently, investigations have included fundamental applications of phase-change heat transfer to the field of biotechnology, including the insitu-treatment of cancerous tissue using hypo and hyperthermia and arresting epileptic seizures through the rapid cooling of localized tissue in the brain, which requires highly efficient heat dissipation devices, capable of dissipating the thermal energy to the surrounding tissue.

Current research interests involve theoretical investigations of the surface chemistry of micro and nano-fabricated devices, using molecular dynamic simulation, which have pushed the boundaries that could bring revolutions in both thermal management and the energy sectors.


  • Investigations of the interface heat transfer in nano-crystalline metallic films where the electrons or phonons carry energy across the interfaces between the grains resulting in a loss of energy is of significant importance. Utilizing existing mismatch models and the elastic continuum model, the thermal boundary resistance can be determined and then compared with available experimental data.
  • The thermal boundary resistance existing at the solid/liquid interface in nanoparticle suspensions is being investigated. Although a majority of the recent investigations have focused on the phenomenological perspective, the current investigation uses an approach that examines the molecular electron and phonon interactions and the various mechanisms of energy transport across the solid-liquid interface.
  • A computational approach using the theory of harmonic self-heating is underway, to measure the thermophysical properties of thin films. Experimental validation has been demonstrated for suspended thin film samples. The numerical approach developed is being extended through a theoretical analysis of more complicated experimental configurations, such as non-uniform heating sources, to better understand the effective thermal conductivity of nanoparticle suspensions.
  • Enhanced boiling performance of an order of magnitude has been demonstrated using nanostructured surfaces. Billions of tiny cavities trap air/vapor in nano-bubbles and feed them into the slightly larger micro-cavities presented as cracks on top of the nanostructured surfaces. As a result, the interaction between the micro- and nano-cavities results in improved boiling. The current investigation involves both multiscale modeling and carefully designed experiments.
  • Early work has indicated that Epileptic Seizures can be terminated through the use of rapid localized cooling of the brain tissue. Initial investigations indicated that this approach would require cooling of small regions of the brain by 18 oC, without raising the surrounding tissue temperature more than 0.5 oC. However, more recent work indicates that it may only be necessary to lower the temperature ~8 oC rather than 18 oC, which makes the approach much more feasible. Investigations are underway that use a thermoelectric cooler to reduce the temperature and then a phase-change heat spreader to dissipate the heat to the surrounding brain tissue. Modeling of the thermal characteristics of brain tissue, incorporating blood flow is underway and being compared with experimental results.
  • Thermal Ground Planes are being developed for applications in next generation cell phones to spread the localized heating out over the entire surface. The project involves the modeling, design, fabrication and testing of these devices.  
  • Hypersonic aircraft experience intense aerodynamic heating at the leading edges of the vehicle. Investigations are underway to evaluate the use of phase-change heat transfer to cool the leading edge. The investigation uses the modeling and testing of micro heat pipes that wrap around the leading edge to move the heat further back on the wing surface. Using current 3D printing technology test articles have been fabricated and evaluated both experimentally and analytically. The use of MHD pump assist mechanisms are also being explored.


National Research Committees, Boards and Councils – (Last 5 years)

  • Vice Chair, National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, Federal Bureau of Investigation, January 1, 2012 – present; Member - January 1, 2007- January 1, 2015.
  • Member, National Science Board (NSB), Washington DC, appointed by President Bush, May 1, 2008 – June 1, 2014, reappointed by President Obama, August 1, 2014 – May 10, 2020.
  • Member, US Council on Competitiveness; United States Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative (USMIC), appointed by President Obama,January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2014.
  • Member, National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE), U.S. Department of Commerce, appointed by President Obama, June 16, 2010 – May 1, 2013.
  • Member, U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Executive Committee, appointed by President Obama, June 24, 2011 – 2013; reappointed 2013 - 2015.
  • Member, Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics,January 1, 2015 - present.
  • Chair, NCAA Board of Governors, August 25, 2016- August 31, 2019, Past Chair August 31, 2019 – August 31, 2020.
  • Member, Association of American Universities, (AAU) Board of Directors,October 1, 2014 – September 31, 2018; Executive Committee - October 2015 – September 31, 2018.
  • Member Board of Directors, Executive Committee, American Council on Education, January 2018 – September 31, 2020.
  • Member, National Space Council Users Advisory Group, appointed by Vice President Mike Pence, February 1, 2018 – January 1, 2020.
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), Board of Trustees, June 1, 2019 – present.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Zhou, G., Li, J., Lv, L. and Peterson, G. P., “Comparative Study on Thermal Performance of Ultrathin Miniature Loop Heat Pipes with Different Internal Wicks,” ASME J. Heat Transfer, vol. 139, December 2017, pp. 31-46.
  • Rag, R. L., Sobhan, C. B. and Peterson, G. P., “Computational Analysis of Wire-Bonded Micro Heat Pipe: Influence of Thermophysical Parameters,’ AIAA J. Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, vol. 32, no. 4, 2018, pp. 925-932.
  • Guo, Y., Lin, G., Bai, L., Miao, J. and Peterson, G. P., “Experimental Study of the Thermal Performance of a Neon Cryogenic Loop Heat Pipe,” Int’l. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 120, 2018, pp. 1266-1274.
  • Vyas, D., Sobhan, C. B. and Peterson, G. P., “An Investigation of Marangoni-Benard Convection in Water Based Nanofluids,“ J. Heat and Mass Trans,vol. 55, no. 3,March 2019, pp. 791–809.
  • Torabi, Me., Torabi, M., Yazdi, E. and Peterson, G. P., "Fluid Flow, Heat Transfer and Entropy Generation Analyses of Turbulent Forced Convection through Isotropic Porous Media using RANS Models,” Int’l. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 132, 2019, pp. 443-461.
  • Liu, M., Younes, H., Hong, H. and Peterson, G. P., “Polymer Nanocomposites with Magnetically Aligned Carbon Nano Materials,” Polymer, vol. 166, 2019, pp. 81-87.
  • Luan, X., Younes, H., Hong, H. and Peterson, G.P. “Improving Mechanical Properties of PVA Based Nano Composite Using Aligned Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes" Materials Research Express,, vol. 6, September 11, 2019.
  • Ramachandran, S., Sobhan, C. B. and Peterson, G. P., “Thermophoresis of Nanoparticles in Liquids,” Int’l. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 147, 2020.
  • Jian, G., Peterson, G.P. and Wang, S., ““Experimental Investigation of the Condensation Mechanisms of Spiral Wound Heat Exchangers,” Int’l J. Heat and Mass Trans., vol. 154, 2020, pp. 119-133.


  • Torabi, Me., Karimi, R., Torabi, M. and Peterson, G. P., “Generation of Entropy in Micro Thermofluidic and Thermochemical Energy Systems - A Critical Review,”Int’l. J. Heat and Mass Transfer, vol. 163, 2020.

Selected Patents (18 Issued, 4 Pending):

  • Patent Issued (U.S.), "A Micro Heat Pipe Catheter for Local Tumor Hyperthermia," (Joint w/L. S. Fletcher), U.S. Patent no. 5,190,539, issued March 2, 1993.
  • Patent Issued (U.S.), "Micro Heat Pipe Panels and Method for Producing Same," U. S. Patent no. 5,527,588, (Joint w/C. Camarda, NASA Langley), issued June 18, 1996.
  • Patent Issued (U.S.), "Method for Producing Micro Heat Pipe Panels," U. S. Patent no. 5,598,632, (Joint w/C. Camarda, NASA Langley), issued February 4, 1997.
  • Patent Issued (U.S.) “Composite Materials with Magnetically Aligned Carbon Nanoparticles and Methods of Preparation,” (Joint w/H. Hong, S. Salem, D.), U.S. Patent no. 9,892,835B2, issued February 13, 2018.
  • Patent Issued (U.S.), “Flexible Thermal Ground Plane and Manufacturing Thereof,” (Joint w/R. Yang, Y.C. Lee, V. M. Bright, C. Li, C. Oshman, B. Shi, J.H. Cheng), Patent no. 10,527,358, issued January 7, 2020.