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Sir John Houghton

Sir John Houghton

Dr. John Houghton is well known internationally for his outstanding research in remote sensing of the atmosphere from space.

In cooperation with Professor Desmond Smith, Dr. Houghton developed the selective Chopper Radiometer for the Nimbus 4 and 5 satellites in the early 1970s - an instrument, which sensed remotely the atmospheric temperature structure up to about 50km in altitude. Further developments by the group at Oxford led by Dr. Houghton, namely the Pressure Modulator Radiometer flown on Nimbus 6 in 1975 and the Stratospheric and Mesospheric Sounder flown on Nimbus 7 in 1978, enabled the temperature structure and the distribution of some minor constitutents up to about 90km in altitude to be observed. These instruments, for the first time, provided global information on the structure of the stratosphere and mesosphere and have played a large part in enabling more detailed studies of the radiation, dynamics and chemistry of the whole atmosphere to be pursued. Dr. Houghton also cooperated with scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in developing an instrument for the Pioneer Venus Orbiter.

He is the recipient of a number of awards including the Darton Prize (1954), the Buchan Prize (1966), the Symons Gold Medal (1991), the Charles Cree Medal of the Institute of Physics (1979) and the Glazebrook Medal (1990). In 1988, he was appointed as Chairman of the Scientific Assessment Working Group of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change.

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