David received his BSc (first class honours) in Physics from the University of Sussex in 1974 and, as a Commonwealth Scholar, his PhD in Physics from the University of Calgary in 1979. Following a Post Doctoral Fellowship at a European Space Agency Fellow in ESTEC, Noordwijk, he joined the department of Physics at the University of Lethbridge in 1981. Over the last 30 years he has established an internationally recognized research program in the area of experimental astrophysics, specializing in the design and use of infrared and submillimeter, Fourier transform spectrometers and radiometers, in a variety of astronomical applications. He has held research several fellowships, NATO International Fellow (University College London), Smithsonian Fellow (Smithsonian Institute Washington), Perren Fellow (Queen Mary College London) and in 2003 was awarded a Board of Governors Research Chair at the University of Lethbridge.
David is the Director of the Astronomical Instrumentation Group and co-founder of the Institute for Space Imaging Science, formed in 2009 between the Universities of Calgary and Lethbridge. He attracts external funding for his research program of ~1M$ pa and is currently exploring the transfer of his technology to the medical field through collaboration with brain imaging scientists at the University of Calgary’s medical faculty to explore the utility of his sensitive detector systems in stroke research.
David is a member of: American Astronomical Society, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Canadian Association of Physicists, Canadian Astronomical Society, Optical Society of America and Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers. He has served on several (inter)national committees CTAG, NSERC GSC17, JCSA, NASA NGST, Herschel/SPIRE, Gemini and ALMA science steering committees, and regularly acts as a reviewer for granting agencies and journals.
David is currently actively involved in three major projects: ESA’s Herschel/SPIRE mission, for which he is the Canadian PI; the SCUBA-2 project, for which his group is developing an imaging Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS-2). He is also championing a Canadian role in the JAXA/ESA SPICA mission.
In 2003 David formed a high-tech spin off company, Blue Sky Spectroscopy. Based in Lethbridge, Blue Sky specializes in custom instrumentation for the remote sensing and medical imaging markets. The company’s heritage respects David’s vision of providing exemplary training opportunities for students. Blue Sky has won several contracts from the European and Canadian Space agencies and has delivered complex instrumentation to leading research teams at Harvard, Berkeley, CEA Paris, Chicago, Cardiff, the Max Planck Institute, NASA and NIST. Three of its systems are operating at the South Pole and the company recently delivered two systems to China. Blue Sky is gaining international recognition and was featured in a recent issue of a leading European aerospace magazine.
David actively recruits young scientists into his group and is particularly proud of the many students that have started their careers in his laboratory. When he is not travelling the globe, David is frequently found travelling with his wife Mavis to Calgary to visit their two children, and two beautiful grandchildren.
An electronic radio transmitter Christmas present that my parents gave me when I was 9 years old.
Numerous ways: the most interesting being the use of our sensitive detectors to detect cancer without the need for histological staining or interpretation by a pathologist. Others include: Faster communication devices, security scanning and buried landmine, illicit contraband and, potentially, Alzheimer’s disease detection…..
The recognition of former students, many who have gone on to illustrious research careers.
Cancer detection using THz imaging spectroscopy.