Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research
Research Medal Award Winner
Andrew Harris, assistant professor in the Hawaii Institute Geophysics and Planetology, is an expert in volcanic studies. One reviewer writes, "Andy Harris is one of two or three young volcanologists in the world who will be leaders in the field. This is because he understands how to use new technology from outside volcanology while still excelling in the essentials within the field."
The intensity of his innovation and productivity is illustrated by the 33 papers Harris has published since he joined the University of Hawaii in 1999. His work initially focused on the analysis of thermal data from volcanoes using satellites. Harris recently developed a real-time thermal monitoring device for Kilauea and Stromboli volcanoes. These provide frequent temperature measurements, which are used to study the thermal dynamics of the volcanoes.
Another aspect of Harris’ work, in collaboration with Scott Rowland, is the development of numerical lava flow models. These allow the advance rate of lava to be predicted from the radiative energy measured at the vent and available digital elevation data. This is innovative and has great potential practical use because it provides the capability to evaluate down-slope hazards during the early phase on an eruption, which could allow sufficient time to evacuate areas at risk.
The Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research is awarded by the Board of Regents in recognition of scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of students and the community. The board also awards the Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching.
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Geophysics and planetology
Civil and environmental engineering