James R. Houck
|James R. Houck|
October 5, 1940 |
|Residence||Ithaca, New York|
|Alma mater||Carnegie-Mellon University, Cornell University|
|Doctoral students||Judith Pipher|
|Known for||Key contributions to the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) and Spitzer Space Telescope missions|
|Notable awards||NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1984 and 2005), Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation (2008)|
Houck pioneered infrared observational astronomy, designing detectors and spectrographs that were flown on sounding rockets in the 1960s, on airborne observatories in the 1970s, and the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) in 1984 and the Spitzer Space Telescope in 2003. He also led development of Cornell's instrumentation for the Palomar Observatory Hale Telescope.
Houck's research outside instrumentation has focused on the mechanisms responsible for energy generation in Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies (ULIRGs), of which he was a discoverer using the IRAS satellite. Houck has also studied the formation of dust in the early Universe.
- NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1984) "for outstanding contributions to IRAS, including efforts in the rebuilding of the telescope focal plane assembly and continuing scientific analysis."
- NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2005) "for his work on the Spitzer Space Telescope infrared spectrograph." 
- Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation (2008) "for his extraordinary contributions over nearly four decades to major instrumentation for infrared astronomy."
- "Houck celebrates NASA award with colleagues". Cornell University News Service (Cornell University).
- "Houck receives Weber award for career of instrument development". Cornell Chronicle (Cornell University).