Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center at UH Hilo, will lead the conference’s first session. Larry Kimura, associate professor at UH Hilo’s College of Hawaiian Language, will discuss similarities between ancestral knowledge and modern astronomy.
A virtual conference focusing on Hawai‘i’s path to a sustainable future will feature experts on the critical need to create a balance between rapid innovation and Indigenous knowledge.
The University of Hawai‘i Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation will host Blending of Culture and Science: A UH Innovation Virtual Conference, Nov. 15–17, featuring experts from astronomy, natural and ocean resources management and innovation. The conference is free and open to the first 1,000 participants.
“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,” says veteran Hawaiʻi Island astronomer Doug Simons, the newly appointed director at the UH Institute for Astronomy, who will speak at the conference.
On Nov. 15, Ka‘iu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa 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 western science, and merging cultural and scientific ways of knowing to inspire more students to love both. It’s a well-received program that has earned international recognition.
It is a path that excites Simons and Larry Kimura, associate professor at UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. Kimura created a 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 Kimura for a discussion on similarities between ancestral knowledge and 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 Hawai‘i-based astronomers to create names in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) for astronomical discoveries made in Hawai‘i. He is focused on the renewal of UH’s master lease for Maunakea which is set to expire in 2033.
Other featured speakers joining a panel conversation moderated by Kaʻiu Kimura include, Kanoe Kanaka‘ole (Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, UH Hilo), Kelekolio Kuamo‘o (UH Hilo) and Alan Tokunaga (IfA, UH Mānoa).