• 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 came to Georgia Tech on April 1, 2009, as the Institute's 11th president and retired from that role August 31, 2019. On Spetember 10, 2019 the Board of Regents (BOR) of the University System of Georgia voted to name Peterson President Emeritus as well as Regents Professor of Mechanical Engineering for the standard three-year term. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, he was the Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder (2006-2009), Provost and Officer of the Institute at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York (2000-2006), and Program Director at the National Science Foundation for the Thermal Transport and Thermal Processing Program (1993-1994). He held various positions at Texas A&M University, beginning in 1981 as an assistant professor of engineering technology, to professor of mechanical engineering (1990), Halliburton Professor of Mechanical Engineering (1990), the College of Engineering's Tenneco Professor, Head of the Department of ME (1993-1996), executive associate dean of engineering (1996-2000), and associate vice-chancellor for engineering for the Texas A&M University Systems (1996-2000).  Prior to Texas A&M, he was a Visiting Research Scientist at NASA-Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, Associate Professor at Kansas Technical Institute in Salina, Kansas (1979-1981), and a Mathematics Teacher in Shawnee Mission South High School in Overland Park, Kansas (1978-1979), a Math, Physics, and Chemistry Teacher at Wabaunsee County High School in Alma, Kansas (1977-1978).

Throughout his career, Professor Peterson has played an active role in helping to establish the national education and research agendas, serving on numerous industry, government, and academic task forces and committees. He also has served as a member of a number of congressional task forces, research councils, and advisory boards, including the Office of Naval Research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Energy, the National Research Council, and the National Academy of Engineering. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors and vice president for Education for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He is currently serving on a number of national boards and committees, including serving as a member of the National Science Board, Co-Chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Association of Public and Land-grant universities, and member of the US Council on Competitiveness.


Professor Peterson's research interests have focused 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 required 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.

Current projects include:

  • 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 TBR can be determined and then compared with available experimental data.
  • A thermal boundary resistance exists at the solid/liquid interface. One example is the heat transfer in nanoparticle suspensions. A majority of the recent investigations have focused on the phenomenological perspective. Using an approach that examines molecule, electron and phonon interactions, the mechanisms of the energy transport across the solid-liquid interface can be examined.
  • Using a numerical approach, the theory of harmonic self-heating technique can be used to measure the thermophysical properties. Validation has been demonstrated for simple strip-shaped suspended samples. The numerical approach employed can be extended by conducting a theoretical analysis of more complicated experimental configurations, such as non-uniform heating source to probe 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 the improved boiling. Successful investigation requires that both multiscale modeling and carefully designed experiments by collaborating with micro/nano  technologists.

This work will significantly advance the fundamentals that could lead to new generations of design of thermal management for energy system applications.


  • Member, U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee Executive Committee, 2011 – present
  • National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 2010
  • Member of the National Science Board, which advises the President and Congress on national policy related to science and engineering research and education, 2008-2014
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    • AIAA Distinguished Service Award, January 2011
    • Sustained Service Award, 2005 and 2003
    • Member, Board of Director, 2001-2004
    • Thermophysics Award, 1996
    • Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer Associate Editor, 1996-present
    • Associate Fellow, 1991
    • Best Paper in Thermophysics Award, 1990
    • Fellow, 1998
  • American Society for Engineering Education
    • Benjamin Garver Lamme Award for Excellence in Engineering, 2006
    • ASEE/Dow Chemical Corp. Outstanding Young Faculty Award, 1988
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • Heat Transfer Memorial Award, 2001
    • Journal of Heat Transfer Associate Editor, 2000-2003
    • O. L. "Andy" Lewis Award, 1994
    • Fellow, 1993
    • Petroleum Division Past Chairman's Award, 1993
    • Gustas L. Larson Memorial Award, 1992
    • Ralph James Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Petroleum Division, 1993 and 1986
    • Heat Transfer Newsletter Editor, 1990-1993
    • Journal of Energy Resources Technology Associate Editor, 1986-1992
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • Chair Reduced Gravity Flight Experiment Review Committee (Glenn Research Center), 1997-2003
    • Innovation Award, 1995 and 1990
    • NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Research Fellowship (NASA Johnson Space Center), 1982 and 1981
  • Texas A&M University
    • Texas A&M University, Dwight Look College of Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award, April 12, 2012
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Graduates, 2004
    • Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching by the Association of Former Students, 1993
    • Honors Program Teacher/Scholar Award, 1991-1992
    • College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award by the Association of Former Students, 1990
    • Engineering Experiment Station Select Young Fellow, 1986-1987
  • National Science Foundation Award for Outstanding Management, 2006
  • International Astronautical Federation Frank J. Malina Medal, 2005
  • Elected to the International Academy of Astronautics, 2004
  • Journal of Microscale Thermophysical Engineering Editor, 1996-present
  • International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow Editor Board, 1994-2000
  • Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science Editor for North America, 1993-2003
  • Pi Tau Sigma J. G. H. Thompson Award for Excellene in Teaching 1988
  • Registered Professional Engineer in Texas, 1988
  • Exxon Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, 1987


  • U.S. Patent pending, “Alignment of Carbon Nanotubes Comprising Magnetically Sensitive Metal Oxides in Heat Transfer Nanofluids,” U. S. Provisional Patent Application No. , (Joint w/H. Hong), filed October 1, 2010

  • U.S. Patent pending, “Flexible Thermal Ground Plan and Manufacturing Thereof,” U. S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/158,086, (Joint w/ R. Yang, C. Li, Y.C. Lee, J. H. Cheng, G. P. Peterson, V. Bright, B. Shi and C. Oshman), filed March 6, 2009

  • U.S. Patent pending, “Method and Apparatus for Jet Blast Deflection,“ U. S. Patent Application Serial No. 12/301,916, (Joint H. N.G. Wadley, D. T. Queheillalt’, H. Haj-Hariri, A. G. Evans and G. P. Peterson) filed November 21, 2008

  • Coupled, Flux Transformer Heat Pipes, U. S. Patent 5,647,429, with S. Oktay, IBM Corporation, July 15, 1997
  • Treatment Method Using a Micro Heat Pipe Catheter, U.S. Patent 5,591,62, with L. S. Fletcher, January 7, 1997
  • Micro Heat Pipe Panels and Method for Producing Same, U. S. Patent 5,527,588, with C. Camarda, June 18, 1996
  • Temperature Control Mechanisms for a Micro Heat Pipe Catheter, U. S. Patent 5,417,686, with L. S. Fletcher, May 23, 1995
  • A Micro Heat Pipe Catheter for Local Tumor Hyperthermia, U. S. Patent 5,190,539, with L. S. Fletcher, March 2, 1993
  • Vapor Deposited Micro Heat Pipe, U. S. Patent 5,179,043, with M. H. Weichold, January 12, 1993
  • Heat Transfer Cylinder Dryer, U. S. Patent 5,119,886, with L. S. Fletcher, June 9, 1992
  • Bellows Heat Pipe for the Thermal Control of Electronic Devices, U. S. Patent 4,951,740, with S. Oktay, IBM Corporation), August 28, 1990.

Invention Disclosures

  • Invention Disclosure Filed, “Metallic Nanowires Array for Thermal Interface Materials and Manufacturing the Same,” (Joint w B. Feng) Disclosed to Georgia Tech Research Corporation, June 25, 2012

  • Flexible Thermal Ground Plane and Manufacturing the same,” Invention Disclosure Filed August 10, 2007
  • Dry Evaporating Cooling (with C. Li), Disclosed to CU Technology Transfer Office, April 2008
  • A Method of Forming Variable Graded Porosity Heat Pipe Wick Structure, (with Intel Corporation), Invention Disclosure Filed September 22, 1997
  • A Flexible Heat Pipe Catheter, Invention Disclosure Filed June 22, 1992
  • Automatic Feed Mechanisms for a Pneumatic Screwdriver, Invention Disclosure Filed May 31, 1986
  • Gripping Devices for Board-like Work Pieces, Invention Disclosure Filed May 15, 1985

Representative Publications

  • Feng, B., Weaver, K. and Peterson, G. P., “Enhancement of Critical Heat Flux in Pool Boiling Using Atomic Layer Deposition of Alumina" Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 100, Issue 5, 053120 (2012), doi: 10.1063/1.3681943.

  • Li, C. H., Li, T., Hodgins, P., Hunter, C. N., Voevodin, A. A., Jones, J.G. and Peterson, G. P., “Comparison Study of Liquid Replenishment Impacts on Critical Heat Flux and Heat Transfer Coefficient of Nucleate Pool Boiling on Modulated Porous Structures,” Int’l J. Heat and Mass Transfer, Vol. 54, pp. 3146–3155, 2011, doi:10.1016.2011.01.062.

  • Zhang, Z. M., Bright, T. J. and Peterson, G. P., “Statistical Reassurance of Fourier’s Law Against Cattaneo’s Equation,” Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, vol. 15, pp. 220–228, 2011.

  • Hong, H., Horton, M., Luan, X., Li, C. and Peterson, G. P., “Alignment of Carbon Nanotubes Comprising Magnetically Sensitive Metal Oxides in Heat Transfer Nanofluids,” Thermochimica Acta,” Vol. 525 pp. 87-92, 2011.

  • Hodkins, P., Li, Calvin H. and Peterson, G. P., “Experimental Study of Fundamental Mechanisms in Inductive Heating of Ferromagnetic Nanoparticles Suspension (Fe3O4 Iron Oxide Ferrofluid),” J. Applied Physics, vol. 110, 054303, 2011.

  • C. Li et al. 2008. Nanostructured Copper Interfaces for Enhanced Boiling. Small-Nano and Micro 4(8), 1084-1088.
  • J. Li, and G. P. Peterson. 2007. 3-Dimensional Numerical Optimization of Silicon-Based High Performance Parallel Microchannel Heat Sink with Liquid Flow. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50, 2895-2904.
  • B. H. Kim and G. P. Pterson. 2007. Effect of Morphology of Carbon Nanotubes on Thermal Conductivity Enhancement of Aqueous Fluids. AIAA Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer 21(3), 451-459.
  • C. H. Li and G. P. Pterson. 2007. Mixing Effect on the Enhancement of Thermal Conductivity of Nanoparticle Suspensions (Nanofluids). International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 50, 4668-4677.
  • S. M. Rothman, M. D. Smyth, X. F. Yang, and G. P. Peterson. 2005. Focal Cooling for Epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behavior 7, 214-221.