The beginning of modern infrared astronomy

Frank J. Low, G. H. Rieke, R. D. Gehrz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


I came to the attention of astronomers through inventing the low temperature bolometer at Texas Instruments. I was quickly drawn into pioneering infrared (IR) astronomy. I soon transferred to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and then to the University of Arizona to make astronomy my focus. Parallel programs were getting under way at the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, the Universities of Minnesota and of California, San Diego. Although our methods were crude, discoveries were easy and exciting. I was involved in many of them because I could supply good detectors and invented a number of new techniques. Eventually, I supplied detector systems and instruments through founding of a small company. By the early 1970s, systematic IR astronomy was under way on many important problems that are still active research topics. This rapid success led to investments in large new telescopes and in the IRAS survey satellite.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
EditorsRoger Blandford, John Kormendy, Ewine Dishoeck
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2007

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
ISSN (Print)0066-4146


  • Astronomy history
  • Detectors
  • General infrared astronomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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