Standing the Test of Time
Earl Hanes Earl Hanes is working to enable future lunar and Mars exploration programs. Photo Credit: NASA
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What do a large piece of petrified wood (BC), a hassock that doubles as a fan (circa 1940), and a ceramic heater (2002) have in common? They are all unique possessions that have stood the test of time and together with Earl Hanes reside in his office at NASA's Glenn Research Center. Hanes has stood the test of time as well, having begun his work at Lewis by entering an apprentice program at age 16 in 1953! Hanes had aimed for a job at NACA’s Lewis Research Center since age 13, and West Tech High School’s shop classes hooked his interest in engineering by exposing him to open houses and other events at this facility. During and after graduating from the apprentice program, he attended Baldwin Wallace College and Ohio State University.

From a start in mechanical and electronics engineering, to nuclear, physics and chemistry research, Hanes has gone on to help establish world-class laboratory facilities for advanced ceramic materials research.

One of his proudest memories is when John Glenn circled the Earth, because “research we did enabled us to put a man into space.” He also recalls when Director Ed Sharp would come through the various buildings talking to the employees, one time bringing along famed aviator Jimmy Doolittle.

Hanes' current research is on ceramic composites, solid oxide fuel cells and nanotube technologies. He believes that these materials will be prominent in getting us back to the moon and Mars. Hanes plans to stick around to see all the changes coming, for at least a few more years, or until that hassock fan comes back in style.

Kathleen A. Zona