Research Interests

Most of my career has been tied closely to the development of infrared astronomy. I started building simple, single-detector instruments and using them on a 1.5-m groundbased telescope. Because the field was new and unexplored, discoveries were easy and included ultraluminous infrared galaxies (now thought to be triggered by mergers of massive galaxies and an evolutionary step toward the birth of quasars), starbursts (vigorous episodes of star formation that can dominate the output of a galaxy), the emission of active galactic nuclei (Seyfert galaxies, BL Lacertae objects, quasars), young stars embedded in dust - the list is long. I have also participated in the rapid development of more sophisticated instruments, including utilizing high performance detector arrays and telescopes in space. My attention has turned to the new topics made accessible with these advances, such as planetary debris disks (material generated in collisions among planetestimals in other planetary systems). I am currently helping to bring to fruition the mid-infrared instrument for JWST; when this telescope is operating in space, it will bring the net gain in capability over my career to a total of a factor of about 10<(18)!

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Primary Section

Section 12: Astronomy

Secondary Section

Section 13: Physics