A foremost expert on Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies, Larry Kimura, and the executive director of an observatory atop Maunakea, Doug Simons, compare the first 11 lines of The Kumulipo creation chant to astronomy theories on the origins of the Universe.
Note: Video of full presentation can be viewed at Nā Leo TV: The Physics of Po and Po of Physics
A presentation on “The Physics of Pō and The Pō of Physics” was held Thursday at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The auditorium at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center was filled to capacity and overflowing with people eager to hear Associate Professor Larry Kimura, a foremost expert on Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies, and Doug Simons, executive director at the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope, compare the first 11 lines of The Kumulipo creation chant to modern astronomy theories on the origins of the Universe.
The Kumulipo is the most significant and historic Hawaiian creation chant that has survived to modern times. With more than 2,000 lines, it tells of a fathomless source of power (deep darkness) that evolves increasingly into complex life forms. It has been compared to ancient Greek accounts of creation. King Kalākaua, Hawai’i’s seventh ruling monarch, inherited the chant, which honors several of his ancestors. In 1889, the King had The Kumulipo printed in its entirety. As a result, the chant has survived while many other genealogical chants have not.
Larry Kimura is an associate professor of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies at Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Often described as the “grandfather” of Hawaiian language revitalization in modern Hawai‘i, his work can be traced back to the conception of core foundational educational programs in the 1980s that launched the rebirth of the Hawaiian language.
Doug Simons is executive director of the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope located on Maunakea. He is an astronomy veteran in Hawai‘i, having spent almost his entire professional career either observing with or working for various Maunakea observatories including the UH Institute for Astronomy, the CFHT as a resident astronomer, and the Gemini 8-m Telescopes Project.