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Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research

Research Medal Award Winner

Andrew Harris, headshot

Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris, assistant professor in the Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i 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.

Select a recipient for more about that individual.

Current awardees and links to archives.


Milton Garces, headshot
Milton Garces
Geophysics and planetology
Albert Kim, headshot
Albert Kim
Civil and environmental engineering
Tobias Owen, headshot
Tobias Owen


Bruce Chorpita, headshot
Bruce Chorpita
Ho-min Sohn, headshot
Ho-min Sohn
Korean language
Paul Lucey, headshot
Paul Lucey
Geophysics and planetology


Alexander Krot, headshot
Alexander Krot
Geophysics and planetology
John L. Tonry, headshot
John L. Tonry


Andrew Harris, headshot
Andrew Harris
Laurence N. Kolonel, headshot
Laurence N. Kolonel
Cancer epidemiology
James B. Nation, headshot
James B. Nation


Margaret McFall-Ngai, headshot
Margaret McFall-Ngai
Marine organisms
Stephen Olsen, headshot
Stephen Olsen
High energy physics
 Edward Ruby, headshot
Edward Ruby
Marine organisms