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Larry Olson

Larry Olson

Associate Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


The Polytechnic School
Arizona State University, Polytechnic campus
6049 S Backus Mall
Mesa, AZ 85212


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Associate Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Dr. Olson holds a BS in chemistry from Baylor University and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania where he did work on nitric oxide complexes of metalloporphyrins. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Illinois in organometallic chemistry. As a visiting professor in bio-inorganic chemistry at the University of Houston and Rice University, he worked on the electrochemistry of metalloporphyrins and mixed metal models for the cytochrome c oxidase active site. He has also been a visiting professor in atmospheric chemistry at Baylor University and in human ecology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Brussels, Belgium.

Dr. Olson is currently an associate professor of Environmental & Resource Management (ERM) in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University, where he is the Program Chair for the BS and MS degrees in ERM. These degree programs are targeted at environmental, health and safety professionals and resource managers who work in industry, utilities, consulting engineering firms, government, or NGOs. In this program, Dr. Olson teaches courses such as air pollution, chemistry of hazardous materials, toxicology, environmental chemistry, and international environmental law and policy, and international environmental management. Dr. Olson's research interests are in hazardous chemicals management, including the emerging area on engineered nanomaterials, the environmental impacts of biofuels, water management, and human ecology. He has lectured internationally on these topics in Turkey, China, Russia, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Olson also works extensively in directing ASU's efforts at Professional Development for environmental professionals and water managers. He is the Principal Investigator for an NIEHS grant that provides OSHA mandated training in hazardous materials management, and directs a program providing continuing education seminars in the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, RCRA and other environmental areas. He is also the Director of ASU's Water Management Certificate Program which is a joint effort by the Fulton Schools of Engineering, the Morrison School of Agribusiness, and the Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona.

Prior to his appointment at ASU, Dr. Olson was Professor of Chemistry, Department Chair, and Academic Dean and Administrative Vice President of Grand Canyon College in Phoenix. During his tenure as Dean and Vice President, the faculty doubled and the student body grew by over 50%.

As an industrial consultant, Dr. Olson has conducted stack sampling for toxic air emissions from semi-conductor wafer fabrication operations as well as soil and water sampling, developed Title V air pollution permit applications, instituted Pollution Prevention plans, conducted hazardous waste and emergency response training, and developed a state accredited environmental laboratory. He also has extensive experience as an expert witness in cases involving hazardous materials and hazardous waste.


  • PhD, Physical Inorganic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 1974
  • BS, Chemistry, Baylor University, 1970


Journal Articles


Hristovski, K. D. and L. W. Olson. 2014. Implication for regulating nanomaterials-containing wastes: Hazardous waste or note?. Journal of Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste B4014003. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HZ.2153-5515.0000257. (link )


Hristovski, K. D., P. K. Westerhoff, J. C. Crittenden and L. W. Olson. 2008. Arsenate removal by iron (hydr)oxide modified granulated activated carbon: Modeling arsenate breakthrough with the pore surface diffusion model. Separation Science and Technology 43(11-12):3154-3267. DOI: 10.1080/01496390802221691. (link )

Hristovski, K. D., P. K. Westerhoff, J. C. Crittenden and L. W. Olson. 2008. Arsenate removal by nanostructured ZrO2 spheres. Environmental Science & Technology 42(10):3786-3790. DOI: 10.1021/es702952p. (link )


Hristovski, K., L. Olson, N. Hild, D. Peterson and S. Burge. 2007. The municipal solid waste system and solid waste characterization at the municipality of Veles, Macedonia. Waste Management 27(11):1680-1689. DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2006.09.003. (link )


Olson, L. W., D. Schaeper, D. Lancon and K. M. Kadish. 1982. Characterization of several novel iron nitrosyl porphyrins. Journal of the American Chemical Society 104(7):2042-2044. DOI: 10.1021/ja00371a051. (link )

Saxton, R. J., L. W. Olson and L. J. Wilson. 1982. A ยต-oxo mixed metal complex of copper(II) and iron(III) porphyrin as a resting state model for the cytochrome c oxidase active site. Journal of the Chemical Society, Chemical Communications 1982(17):984-986. DOI: 10.1039/C39820000984. (link )



Ping, J. and L. W. Olson. 2005. Experimental Organic Chemistry. Science Press. Shanghai.

Book Chapters


Olson, L. W. 2005. Management of chemicals for sustainable development. Pp. 135-150 In: Hens, L. and B. Nath eds., The World Summit on Sustainable Development: The Johannesburg Conference. Springer Netherlands. DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-3653-1_6. (link )

Olson, L. W. and K. Boison. 2005. Health impact and control of particle matter. Pp. 115-125 In: Nicolopoulou-Starnati, P., L. Hens and C. V. Howard eds., Environmental Health Impacts of Transport and Mobility. Vol 21. Springer. DOI: 10.1007/1-4020-4307-4_9. (link )


Bottomley, L. A., L. Olson and K. M. Kadish. 1982. Redox tuning of iron porphyrins. Pp. 279-311 In: Kadish, K. M. ed., Electrochemical and Spectrochemical Studies of Biological Redox Components. Vol 201. DOI: 10.1021/ba-1982-0201.ch013. ISBN: 9780841206618. (link )