James De Buizer

Research Scientist

Disciplines: Astronomy

Degree/Major: Ph.D., University of Florida


James De Buizer is an astronomer who received his PhD from the University of Florida in 2000. In the late 90s and early 2000s, his pioneering studies utilizing high spatial resolution observations from the first generation large-format mid-infrared detectors led to a fundamental understanding of how naturally-occurring radio lasers (a.k.a. masers) of different molecular species relate to physical processes and environments around the earliest evolutionary stages of massive stars. Beyond his ongoing investigations into star formation processes, Jim has made contributions to studies of exoplanetary environments, accretion processes at the heart of galaxies, stellar deaths, interstellar chemistry, stellar outflows, and planets and minor bodies in our own Solar System.

In his early career, Jim was a Research Fellow at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) and Gemini Observatory, both located in Chile. In 2008, he began working for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), the world’s largest flying astronomical observatory, which was housed in a heavily modified Boeing 747 aircraft. There he led the integration and testing of SOFIA’s first science instrument, and in the years after taking SOFIA’s first-light image, he flew on well over 50 SOFIA missions as the in-flight Science Director. He was the Assistant Director for Science at the SOFIA Science Center when the project concluded in 2023. 

Jim has worked on infrared astronomical instrumentation for over 25 years and has led or participated in the commissioning of instruments on six major astronomical facilities, including SOFIA, Keck, and Gemini Observatories.

Technical Description of Work

High-mass star formation and evolution, star formation in extreme galactic environments, circumstellar disks (accretion, transitional, and debris), maser emission in star forming regions, the Supernova 1987A remnant, infrared studies of Solar System bodies (planets, asteroids, comets), stellar outflows and jets, infrared astronomical instrumentation, observatory operations and management