University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
January 27, 2001
CONTACT: Walter Dudoit, (808) 974-7642, (808) 895-5826 (cellular)
|UH Hilo sponsors Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day:
5th-12th graders inspired to explore space and science|
Classrooms at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo were filled with students younger than usual today as the campus hosted over 300 5th through 12th graders with an Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day of interactive workshops and exhibits.
The event was named in honor of Big Islander Colonel Ellison Onizuka, one of seven astronauts who died 15 years ago in the January 28, 1986 space shuttle disaster. The event opened with a joint assembly of students, parents and teachers, with addresses by UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng wearing a mock-up space suit and Onizuka's brother, Claude Onizuka.
The morning's activities included over 30 hands-on scientific workshops and exhibits covering 16 topics under the guidance of UH Hilo professors, and scientists and teachers from throughout the State of Hawai`i. Workshops included sunspot viewing through telescopes, Hubble Space Telescope model building, measuring active volcanoes, living in space, space art, exploring the stars over Hawai`i, making and filming lava, and chemistry magic with polymers, to name a few.
World-renowned astronomer Dr. Keiichi Kodaira and space shuttle veteran Astronaut Dr. Steve Hawley gave the keynote addresses in the afternoon.
Kodaira, UH Hilo professor emeritus from the Astronomical Observatory of Japan, engaged students, parents, and members of the community with his talk on searching for life in space.
Hawley, a veteran of four space shuttle flights including deployment and servicing of the Hubble Space Telescope, shared his memories of Astronaut Onizuka (they were flight school classmates) and also spoke about his own adventures on the space shuttle.
A display area on the Mookini Library Lanai included interactive exhibits by the Subaru Telescope, Hawai`i Island Math and Science 4-H Clubs, the Lyman Museum, the Onizuka Space Center of Kona, the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), and various UH Hilo departments and programs.
The day was a collaborative effort of UH Hilo, the Department of Education, the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center, the Hawai`i Space Grant College, the Ellison Onizuka Space Center, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to reach out to the Big Island's youth and inspire a love of space and science.