Remembering David Hans Hough
Physics and astronomy professor emeritus dies on July 14, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
david hough smiles in front of a projector screen with images from his astronomy research on the screen

David Hans Hough died on July 14, 2021, from complications of polymyositis. He retired professor emeritus from Trinity in 2014 after 25 years at the University in the physics and astronomy department.

As a child Hough wanted to be an astronaut; he became an astronomer. After graduating from the California Institute of Technology with a doctorate in astronomy, he served as a postdoctoral fellow first at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and then at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

In 1989, Hough joined Trinity’s faculty as an assistant professor of physics and astronomy. He became a full professor in 2001 and pursued research in extragalactic radio astronomy for 27 years. His research focused on distant galaxies with powerful cores known as “active galactic nuclei,” using arrays of radio telescopes to produce high-resolution images. He ran experiments on the instruments operated by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the Very Long Baseline Array, and the Very Large Array, collaborated with colleagues at other institutions, and published his research. He served as the chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Trinity for eight years and as chair of the Texas Section of the American Physical Society.

In 2014 Hough won the Astronomical League Award. The Astronomical League Award is presented to any person, either amateur or professional, who has made worthwhile contributions to the science of astronomy on a national or international level.

Hough retired from Trinity in 2014, continuing to pursue his research and teach one or two classes a year for several years after. 

He loved classical music, wiffle ball, baseball, hockey, and Texas history. He never forgot a friend or a student, remaining in contact with multiple friends from childhood and college until his death and former students for years after he taught them. He was an active member of Christ Lutheran Church, serving on the Church Council until his death. 

A memorial service will take place on Friday, Oct. 15, at 4 p.m. at Margarite B. Parker Chapel.

Molly Mohr Bruni is the managing editor for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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