E komo mai (Welcome)

Unique and excellent undergraduate education in a unique and excellent location

The University of Hawai'i Hilo Physics and Astronomy programs provide a unique and excellent undergraduate education within the College of Natural Science and Health Sciences. Faculty teach the vast majority of courses, using best practices from physics-education research. The faculty have active research projects that provide opportunities for students to gain valuable experience through internships and directed-studies courses. The programs are designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers in physics and astronomy, from fundamental research to education and public outreach, from data science to engineering. Many career options are available without the need for graduate studies.

Aloha - Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Hawai'i at Hilo

Department Brochure PDF

 

 

 

physcs and astronomy student celebrate graduate Student walking catwalk on Maunakea Observatory CFHT observing after a summit visit Intro to astronomy observing the sun Advanced Astronomy 250 lab student work up date Student doing community outreach at Elison Onizuka day Intro Astronomy 100 lab Astronomy students observing on the slopes of Maunakea Astronomy students observing on Maunakea Emily works on adaptive optics projcet as part of capstone course work Haloween and solar observing on campus Students visiting NASA IRTF observatory on Maunakea Astronomy students observing on Maunakea

Our Degrees & Campus

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Physics

Physics is the study of how the universe works. We offer a bachelor of arts in physics and prepare students for a wide range of careers, with knowledge and skills applicable to engineering, computer or information systems, and other STEM fields, including education. In fact, physics majors generally score well on the MCAT and LSAT because of their highly developed problem-solving skills.
Physics uses the tools of mathematics, and our students have a clear pathway to double majoring with math.

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Astronomy

Astronomy is the study of how the universe began, evolved, and evolves. We offer a bachelor of science in astronomy and provide the training needed for students seeking careers in astronomy, as professional research astronomers, observatory technical staff, or educators. Our astronomy program provides students with unique access to professional telescopes on Maunakea.
Astronomy uses the tools of physics; this is reflected a number of astronomy students double majoring with physics (it's only 3−5 more courses).

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The University

The University of Hawai'i at Hilo is characterized as a comprehensive, regional university. Scholarship and research are an important part of faculty work and student engagement, but the primary focus is on providing high-quality baccalaureate and limited postgraduate education.

Student Experiences in Our Physics & Astronomy Programs

Students learn in and out of the classroom, on and off campus. Unique internship opportunities exist via the Hawai'i/NASA Space Grant Consortium and the Akamai Internship Program.

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"I really enjoyed this course. Having both of my passions/interest in one course was awesome"
Summer - SSFA
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Muon project on summit of Maunakea
Pipes and McNichols - Undergraduate Project
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Radio Jove antenna and receiver project
David Electronics, Radio Jove
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Software Systems for Astronomy summer class
Dr. Albert Conrad, LBTO
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Hands on Optics lab
Dr. Mark Chun, IFA-Hilo
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UH Hilo intro astronomy class - Solar Observing at Science and Technology Building
Professor R. Pierre Martin, UH Hilo Observatory Director

Future 0.7-m Educational Telescope

We are currently building a new UH Hilo Educational Telescope (UHHET) for our majors, other UH Hilo students, and the broader Big Island community. It will have a modern 0.7-m telescope and 20-ft dome; it will operate in classical, queue, and robotic modes. Visit our UHHET site to learn more.

cdk-700 telescope

Our Physics and Astronomy Faculty & Staff

We are your academic `ohana. We teach the vast majority of courses, using best practices from physics-education research. We have active research projects that provide hands-on opportunities for students.

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Kathy Cooksey

Associate Professor &
Department Chair

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Philippe Binder

Professor

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John Coney

Support Staff

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Heather Kaluna

Assistant Professor

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R. Pierre Martin

Associate Professor &
Observatory Director

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Dan O'Connor

Instructor

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Marianne Takamiya

Professor

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Importance of Place

Maunakea & Observatories

UH Hilo faculty and students have access to all professional telescopes atop Maunakea, to carry out research and educational activities. We acknowledge the significant cultural role that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.

Hilo has a vibrant astronomy community, and students collaborate with observatory astronomers on research and technical projects, through internships at the observatories, obtainable year-round. Several of our alumni are working in the local community and can provide practical advice for pursuing a career in astronomy.

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B.S.
Astronomy
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B.A.
Physics
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Dual
Degrees

Science and Technology 2nd floor tour of Physiscs and Astronomy Driving to Maunakea video

Videos, Physics and Astronomy Department walk through... and driving to work on Maunakea.

A hui hou (Until we meet again)

Contact us!

Questions? You can stop by our offices in the Sciences and Technology Building (STB), 2nd floor. Otherwise email for a site visit or a Zoom meeting.

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Astronomy 250 lab looking at computers