California Institute of Technology
    Division of Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy - 301-17 - Pasadena - California - 91125

Thomas G. Phillips

Curriculum Vitae



The Origins of Astrochemistry (filmed at IAU Symposium 280 "The Molecular Universe")

Thomas G. Phillips
John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics, Emeritus
D.Phil., Oxford, 1964
Office: 302 Cahill, M/S: 301-17, Ext: 4278
E-mail: tgp _AT_

Thomas G. Phillips was educated at Oxford, England, where he received B.A., M.A. and D.Phil. degrees. His graduate studies were in low temperature physics. During this time he was appointed to a Junior Research Fellowship at Jesus College. After one year at Stanford University he moved to Bell Telephone Laboratories Physics Research laboratory at Murray Hill, N.J. There he developed techniques for millimeter and submillimeter-wave detection for astronomy, including the heterodyne Hot Electron Bolometer (HEB) and the SIS detectors. With the early, semiconductor version of the HEB he detected many useful ISM transitions for the first time, including the rotational ladder lines of CO and the ground state fine-structure line of atomic carbon (CI). The SIS receivers have become the enabling devices for the ALMA interferometer. The receivers for HIFI are mainly SIS, but several are superconducting HEB. In 1975 he spent a year at London University as University Reader in Physics where he wrote the first proposal for the JCMT.

In 1979 he joined the faculty of Caltech as Professor of Physics. At Caltech he took on the task of construction of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory millimeter-wave interferometer, as Associate Director of the observatory. In 1982 he became Director Designate for the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, to be constructed in Hawaii, and in 1986, on successful completion of the construction, became Director. He is also the PI of the U.S. contribution to the HIFI instrument for Herschel as a final result of his work as PI of LDR and the Submillimeter Explorer.

In 2004 he received the Joseph Weber award of the American Astronomical Society and also became the Altair Professor of Physics at Caltech. His current research interests are in molecular (particularly hydrides and deuterides) and atomic spectroscopy of the interstellar medium and in the development of superconducting devices for submillimeter-wave detection. In 2008 he was chosen to be honored at the Templeton Xiangshan Conference in Beijing China on the 400th anniversry of the invention of the telescope. In 2009 Caltech organized a two day symposium in his honor.

In 2010 he was awarded the NASA "Exceptional Public Service" medal for his work on HIFI, which is working very well!

Submillimeter Group  |   Caltech Submillimeter Observatory  |   Astronomy Department CSO