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Dr. Richard G. Gann

Dr. Richard G. Gann is a senior research scientist emeritus in the Fire Research Division (FRD) Office of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Prior to joining NBS/NIST, Dr. Gann had spent two years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Space Research Coordination Center and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and 4 years as a Research Chemist in the Combustion and Fuels Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory. He also worked briefly for the Plastics and Resins Division of the American Cyanamid Co.

Dr. Gann joined the National Bureau of Standards in 1976 as a Research Chemist. During the next 6 years, he successively became Head of Fire Chemistry Research, Head of Exploratory Fire Research, and an NBS Program Analyst. In 1984, he was a Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. From 1982 until 1999, he led the Fire Science Division in developing the scientific and engineering understanding and metrology for fire research. In 1999, Dr. Gann stepped aside from the Division management to focus his efforts on a small number of high impact projects: standards for reduced ignitions by cigarettes, removing dependence on the ozone-depleting halon fire suppressants, and developing a scientifically sound strategy and basis for including the effects of smoke in fire safety decisions.

Gann's broad research interests include materials and furnishings flammability, ignition phenomena, flame suppression chemistry, atmospheric and combustion chemical kinetics, smoldering combustion, fire detection and suppression, confined space fires, smoke generation and toxicity, fluid flammability, and fire model validation. He has over 110 personal publications, 350 supervised publications and 400 presentations to university, professional, industrial, and government audiences.

While a member of the Combustion Institute, Dr. Gann was Program Chairman of the 23rd International Symposium on Combustion, Vice-Chairman of the Publications Committee, and Program Chairman, Treasurer and Chair of the Eastern States Section. He belongs to the American Chemical Society and the ASTM Committee on Fire Standards. He chairs the National Fire Protection Association Toxicity Technical Advisory Committee and is an alternate member of the Fire Test Committee. He chaired the Technical Groups under the Cigarette Safety Acts of 1984 and 1990 and the Technical Committee of the Halon Alternatives Research Consortium. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Sigma Xi; and is currently on the Editorial Boards of Fire Technology and Fire and Materials. He also serves as Chair of the ISO TC92 SC3 Subcommittee on Fire Threat to People and the Environment. Dr. Gann was the Technical Program Manager for the Department of Defense's Next Generation Fire Suppression Technology Program.

In 2002, Dr. Gann and five NIST colleagues were awarded ASTM's Simon H. Ingberg Award for "the original and comprehensive work in research, testing and analysis they performed to create the sound scientific basis for ASTM Standard 2187, Test Method for Measuring the Ignition Strength of Cigarettes." This method was adopted by the State of New York as the basis for the world's first law requiring less fire-prone cigarettes and has since been adopted by 49 other states, Australia, and Canada as the basis for similar regulations.  In 2005, Dr. Gann received one of the first (Congressman) John Joseph Moakley Awards for his leadership in promoting fire-safer cigarettes.

Dr. Gann has been awarded two Department of Commerce Gold Medals, one for development of scientific methods for ignition propensity of cigarettes and selection of alternatives for ozone-depleting fire suppressants and one for his role in the investigation of the World Trade Center disaster. In 2005, he received the E.U. Condon Award for writing the Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers.  In 2007, Dr. Gann was recognized by the International Forum of Fire Research directors with their Sjolin Award for contributions to the science and advances in the state of the art in fire safety engineering practice of extraordinary significance.

Dr. Richard G. Gann


Senior Research Scientist Emeritus
Fire Research Division Office


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, 1970

Trinity College, B.S., Chemistry, 1965


Phone: 301-975-6866
Email: richard.gann@nist.gov