A Scientist of Note

Daniel Hickman

Fellow, Engineering & Process Science Core Research & Development

In Pursuit of Truth

Whether playing the accordion or the keyboard, or designing chemical reactors, Dan Hickman tunes into the truth.

Dan Hickman is inspired by the truth. He is committed to uncovering the truth in all his areas of interest – from philosophy and theology to his professional work as an R&D scientist.

“As I develop new chemical processes, this passion manifests itself in my efforts to design equipment and execute experiments in a way that extracts the truth,” Dan said. “Bad science is easy to do, but it often leads to the wrong answers. Good science takes effort and commitment.”

Dan always loved to learn about science. It started as a child with a fascination with dinosaurs. But then, he soon realized that there were two categories of science: historical and observational. energy and water.

“To propose a hypothesis and conduct repeated experiments to validate or disprove that hypothesis – that kind of science really appealed to me,” he said.

Historical science, including studying dinosaurs, didn’t allow for a lot of experimentation. By eighth grade, Dan wrote in a school report that he would be a chemist.

A Mentor to Young Researchers

Dan sees younger team members as a source of creativity and inspiration. “I sense my responsibility to pass on the tools of the trade to them so that they may more effectively pursue scientific truth,” he said.

He encourages young scientists to develop their critical thinking skills. “Don't be quick to accept what others teach as fact,” he said. “Good scientists question and test assumptions.”

Better Person. Better Scientist

Dan encourages students to study science with the big picture in mind.

“Biology is not independent from chemistry, nor are these independent from physics,” he said. “More importantly, scientific disciplines are best practiced in the context of the humanities and social sciences. Read broadly and read regularly. Study science and the humanities to become a better person. In the process, you will become a better scientist.”

Dan says that his wife and two kids occasionally tease him when he gets excited about a science topic or when he seizes the opportunity to teach them something scientific.

“I have a tendency to be very single-minded (I prefer ‘focused’), so they deserve a lot of credit for helping me be a multidimensional person with broad interests and an appreciation for things like good literature, sound principles of government and economics, and fashion.”


Mid-Michigan AIChE Chemical Engineer of the Year, 2014

Chairman of ISCRE 24, to be held in Minneapolis in June 2016

Member of AIChE Awards Committee, 2013-2017

Elected to Board of Directors of International Symposia on Chemical Reaction Engineering, Inc., October 2012

Green Belt Project Leader Certification, May 2008

Tech Center Improvement Award from The Dow Chemical Company, 2007

Michigan Research and Development Laboratories of The Dow Chemical Company Scientists’ Excellence in Science Award, October 2002

The Dow Chemical Company’s Doug Leng Award for Excellence in Engineering Research, October 2001

Multiple Dow AgroSciences Inventors’ Day Awards for Innovative Scientific Contributions (1998, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2009)

University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 1991-1992

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 1988-1991

U.S. Presidential Scholar and National Merit Scholar, 1984


Elected to Board of Directors of International Symposia on Chemical Reaction Engineering, Inc., October 2012

Chairman of ISCRE 24, to be held in Minneapolis in June 2016.

Member of AIChE Awards Committee, 2013-2017

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Honda, G. S.; Gase, P.; Hickman, D. A.; Varma, A., Hydrodynamics of Trickle Bed Reactors with Catalyst Support Particle Size Distributions. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2014,

Hickman, D. A.; Holbrook, M. T.; Mistretta, S.; Rozeveld, S. J., Successful Scale-up of an Industrial Trickle Bed Hydrogenation Using Laboratory Reactor Data. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2013, 52 (44), 15287–15292,

DeWilde, J. F.; Chiang, H.; Hickman, D. A.; Ho, C. R.; Bhan, A., Kinetics and Mechanism of Ethanol Dehydration on γ-Al2O3: The Critical Role of Dimer Inhibition. ACS Catalysis 2013, 798-807,

Hickman, D. A., Chemical Reactor Design, Optimization, and Scaleup By E. Bruce Nauman. AIChE Journal 2011, 57 (11), 3243-3243,

Hickman, D. A.; Jones, M. E.; Jovanovic, Z. R.; Olken, M. M.; Podkolzin, S. G.; Stangland, E. E.; Thompson, R. K., Reactor Scale-up for Fluidized Bed Conversion of Ethane to Vinyl Chloride. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2010, 10674–10681,

Hickman, D. A.; Sobeck, D. D., Liquid Phase Process Characterization. In Micro Instrumentation, Koch, M. V.; VandenBussche, K. M.; Chrisman, R. W., Eds. WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA: Weinheim, 2007; pp 407-429,

Hickman, D. A.; Weidenbach, M.; Friedhoff, D. P., A comparison of a batch recycle reactor and an integral reactor with fines for scale-up of an industrial trickle bed reactor from laboratory data. Chemical Engineering Science 2004, 59 (22-23), 5425-5430,

Neurock, M.; Zhang, X.; Olken, M.; Jones, M.; Hickman, D.; Calverley, T.; Gulotty, R., A First-Principle Analysis of Ethylene Chemisorption on Copper Chloride Clusters. Journal of Physical Chemistry B 2001, 105 (8), 1562-1572,