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avatar for David Naylor

David Naylor

Professor and Board of Governors’ Research Chair Director, Astronomical Instrumentation Group Space Astronomy Division, Institute for Space Imaging Science Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Lethbridge  

David received his BSc (1st) 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 34 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 several prestigious research 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 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. He has coauthored over 290 refereed publications with an I-index of 90, and H-index of 31 and two papers cited over 1000 times.
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.
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 leading space agencies (NASA, ESA, CSA) 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 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 three beautiful grandchildren.
Evidence of impact and contributions
- Royal Astronomical Society of London group achievement award for the Herschel/SPIRE instrument (2014)
- Finalist in the Alberta Science and Technology (ASTech) provincial awards (2003, 2010, 2013)
- Named top 50 most influential people by Alberta Venture (July 2013)
- Recipient of Sir Arthur Clarke Award for academic study and research (July 2013)
- Awarded the key to the city of Lethbridge for contributions to science research (Nov 2009)
- Royal Astronomical Society of London group achievement award for the SCUBA instrument (2009)
- Co-founder of the Institute for Space Imaging Science (ISIS), a joint institute with Universities of Calgary and Athabasca, and Director of the Space Astronomy Division (2009)
- Canadian Principal Investigator for the JAXA/ESA SPICA/Safari mission (2008 - present)
- Awarded Alberta Centennial Medal for contributions to science (2005)
- Awarded Ingrid Speaker award for Distinguished Research (2003)
- Principal Investigator for imaging Fourier transform spectrometer, FTS-2 ((2003 – present)
- Member and Chair CSA-CASCA Joint Committee on Space Astronomy (2003-2006; 2010-present)
- Member of board of the Canadian Astronomical Society (2005-2008)
- Formed spin-off company Blue Sky Spectroscopy Inc. (6 permanent/4 part time staff)(2003)
- Canadian Principal Investigator for the Herschel/SPIRE mission (2002 - present)
- Reviewer CFI, NSERC, CSA, CTAG, Ap.J., MNRAS, PASP, ICARUS, App.Opt., Meas. Sci. Tech., Opt. Let., JOSA
- Regularly gives public presentations to local groups (astronomy club, science fair, schools, seniors, churches, etc)