Jaan Laane was born on June 20, 1942 in Paide, Estonia. Laane earned his BS degree from the University of Illinois with Highest Distinction and his Ph.D. from MIT where he received the Kodak Award as the top chemistry graduate student. He also has an honorary doctorate from Tartu University in Estonia. Following a year at Tufts University, Jaan moved to Texas A&M University where he soon was promoted to full professor in 1976. He remains there today.
His research utilizes laser and infrared spectroscopy and focuses on understanding the forces determining molecular structures. He has more than 300 publications and he is editor of three books, the latest is Frontiers of Molecular Spectroscopy (2009). He has served as Faculty Senate Speaker and Associate Dean of Science at Texas A&M and on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of the Coblentz Society. He has been Editor of the Journal of Molecular Structure since 1994, and he served as President of the Alexander von Humboldt Association of America from 2007 to 2008.
Throughout his career, he was won numerous awards, including OSA’s Ellis R. Lippincott Award in 2005 “for innovative use of vibrational spectroscopy to determine molecular structure and unravel complex intramolecular dynamics.”