Michael c. Larson, PH.D.


Michael earned his PhD from MIT in 1992, his M.S. from the University of Michigan and his B.S. from Tulane University, all in Mechanical Engineering. He now holds the El Pomar Endowed Chair of Engineering and Innovation and is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. With funding totaling more than $7M from a variety of agencies, including the NSF, the U.S. Air Force, the Missile Defense Agency, and private corporations, Michael has tackled a number of projects related to the fracture and failure of materials and to optical methods. His current research focus is on laser/materials interactions, especially related to medical and homeland security applications.


Michael has a passion for creativity and innovation. He co-founded two companies, one based on a medical device he invented and another based on a consumer product, a laser board game called Khet. In 2005, New Orleans' City Business magazine named him "Innovator of the Year" for founding and directing a studio for creative design. Dr. Larson has conducted numerous workshops on the topics of innovation and creative problem solving. He has garnered six awards for outstanding teaching. Dr. Larson has provided engineering consulting and design services for a number of clients, including designing and fabricating a rocket-port measurement device for Lockheed-Martin, and serving as a product design and failure analysis expert in legal cases. He has piloted a jet aircraft, steered a nuclear submarine, and can wiggle his ears. One at a time.