Covid Information, please see our UH Hilo Campus web page for the latest on Covid:

College of Natural & Health Sciences Weekly Update • 15 November 2023

Akamai 2023 Akamai Internship Program PREP Course at UH Hilo group photo

Keck Observatory Congratulates Akamai Interns August 11, 2023

Spring 2024 Semester Academic Calendar

Physics courses, Spring 2024

Astronomy courses, Spring 2024

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.





physcs and astronomy student celebrate graduate Student walking catwalk on Maunakea Observatory CFHT observing after a summit visit Horsehead Nebula, Televue 104, Canon Ra, 20 x 3 minutes, UH Hilo 11/17/2023 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 Professor Richard Griff and McKendree Springer at Keck base station

Our Degrees & Campus



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.



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).


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.

"I really enjoyed this course. Having both of my passions/interest in one course was awesome"
Summer - SSFA
Muon project on summit of Maunakea
Pipes and McNichols - Undergraduate Project
News release: UH Hilo's Griffiths leads team that solves gravitational lens phenomenon)
Dr. Richard Griffiths & students Mitchell Rudisel and Po-Chieh Huang - Undergraduate Research opportunities
Radio Jove antenna and receiver project
David Electronics, Radio Jove
Software Systems for Astronomy summer class
Dr. Albert Conrad, LBTO
Hands on Optics lab
Dr. Mark Chun, IFA-Hilo
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.


R. Pierre Martin

Associate Professor,
Observatory Director & Department Co-Chair


Heather Kaluna

Associate Professor & Department Co-Chair


Philippe Binder



John Coney

Support Staff


Nicole Drakos

Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy


Catherine Ishida



Kathy Malone

Assistant Professor


Dan O'Connor




Marianne Takamiya


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. Check out the UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship website

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.


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.

Follow us on social media

Astronomy 250 lab looking at computers