James R. Houck, American astrophysicist, died at 74

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James Richard Houck, born on October 5, 1940 and died September 18, 2015, he was the Kenneth A. Wallace Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University.

James 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.

James’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.

James has also studied the formation of dust in the early Universe.

He was married to Elaine, with whom he had two children, until her death in 2011.

Astrophysicist James R. Houck died at age 74 on September 18, 2015.