Posts Tagged ‘RIP’

Tim Hawarden RIP

November 21, 2009

It is with great sadness that I’ve learnt of the death of Tim Hawarden. He can be fairly described as one of the godfathers of Herschel thanks to his development of the concept of radiative cooling for space-based infrared telescopes.

As well as being a brilliant astronomer at whichever wavelength he was working in, he was also a truly nice human being. For example, on trips down from Mauna Kea, he’d stop the car and make sure visiting astronomers got to see some of the amazing flora and fauna of the Big Island. I can well remember being astounded when he first showed me the flowers of wild ginger on one such trip.

He’ll be missed.

You can read his obituary at the ROE website, or read some more personal recollections at Andy Lawrence’s blog.

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Frank Low RIP

June 22, 2009

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.