I heard today that Frank Low, one of the founders of infrared astronomy, died earlier this month. There is an obituary in the New York Times.
I’m not sure I ever met Frank Low, if I did it would have been during a brief visit I made to Steward Observatory in Tucson in the late 90s, but I certainly felt his influence. The lab where I studied for my PhD was veritably stacked with the distinctive ‘gold dustbin’ cryostats made by his company, Infrared Labs, and the first instruments I used, UKT-14 and, as a testbed, UKT-12, were also made by them. More broadly the use of semiconductor bolometers for infrared, and later submm, astronomy was something he pioneered. That heritage lives on in the Herschel PACS and SPIRE instruments.