As Hawaiʻi navigates a path to a sustainable future, experts are recognizing the critical need to create stronger connections between rapid global innovation and Indigenous innovation. The University of Hawaiʻi Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation will host, Blending of Culture and Science: A UH Innovation Virtual Conference, November 15–17, featuring experts from astronomy, natural and ocean resources management and innovation. The virtual conference is free and open to the first 1,000 participants. Register online.
On November 15, Kaʻiu Kimura, executive director of ʻImiloa Astronomy Center at UH Hilo, will lead the conference’s first session. The center’s mission is founded on educating the public on parallels between Hawaiian culture and global science, and merging cultural and scientific ways of knowing to inspire more students to advance both. It’s a well-received program that has earned international recognition.
It is a path that excites veteran Hawaiʻi Island astronomer Doug Simons, the newly appointed director at the UH Institute for Astronomy (IfA) and Larry Kimura, associate professor at UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, who created new Hawaiian word, makaola in 2020 to describe the possibility of the detection of life on Venus. During the conference’s opening day, the two will join Kaʻiu Kimura for a discussion on similarities between ancestral modern astronomy.
Simons worked with both Kimuras and others in the community to help establish A Hua He Inoa, a program where Hawaiian speaking students and educators work with Hawaiʻi-based astronomers to create names in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) for astronomical discoveries made in Hawaiʻi.
“The unique blend of cultural and scientific expertise in Hawaiʻi creates a wonderful opportunity to deepen our understanding of nature, on all scales, and help advance ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi in the process,” Simons said.
Other featured speakers joining a panel conversation moderated by Kaʻiu Kimura include, Kanoe Kanakaʻole (Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, UH Hilo), Kelekolio Kuamoʻo-Wilhelm (UH Hilo) and Alan Tokunaga (IfA, UH Mānoa).
- Connecting Hawaiian Indigenous Culture with Modern Astronomy Monday, November 15, 8–10 a.m.
- Conservation of our Ahupuaʻa Tuesday, November 16, 8–10 a.m.
- UH Innovation and Commercialization Wednesday, November 17, 8–10 a.m.