Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research awarded to outstanding faculty

University of Hawaiʻi
Lowell Angell, (808) 956-4890
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Aug 21, 2008

HONOLULU — The University of Hawai‘i has selected three faculty members as recipients of the Regents‘ Medal for Excellence in Research. This award recognizes scholarly contributions that expand the boundaries of knowledge and enrich the lives of all in the community, nation and world.

Benjamin Brooks, an associate researcher with the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics & Planetology at UH Mānoa, is an outstanding creative researcher with a strong commitment to education. He has an outstanding research reputation in several innovative aspects of geodesy, or the measurement of the position of landforms on earth, and the geologic processes that change these positions. Dr. Brooks has worked extensively on the analysis of orbital radar measurements of sea level change, and contributed unique insights into novel interpretations of the effects of water vapor in studying orbital radar data. His many past achievements include receiving a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research and teach in Argentina in 2004, doing GPS work in the Central Andes, and identifying slow earthquakes on the flanks of the Big Island‘s Kilauea volcano.

Terry Hunt is a professor of anthropology at UH Mānoa and is considered one of the foremost archeologists working in the Pacific. His work integrates environmental history, ecology and models of the evolution of human societies. Hunt‘s current research on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) draws on data acquired over seven seasons of field work to challenge the empirical foundations of recently popularized accounts for the island‘s prehistory and the demise of its ancient civilization. His archeological field school there brought undergraduate and graduate students into the process of discovery, as well as native high school students and adult community members who were invited to train alongside them. Hunt has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to work with colleagues on similar issues of ecological change in the Hawaiian Islands.

R. Brent Tully, an astronomer with the UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy, has brought tremendous scientific recognition to the university and state through his distinguished career in the field of observational cosmology. He is one of a dozen individuals currently at UH to be recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher, based on the impact of his work as assessed by the Web of Science. His development of the "Tully-Fisher" relation is now universally recognized as the most powerful and precise measure of distances on cosmological scales. Dr. Tully‘s development of informative programs for TV, museums and planetariums — including the PBS Nova series "The Runaway Universe" — has helped the public to better understand the universe around them.

These three individuals will be recognized for their achievements along with other UH award recipients at the annual Convocation ceremony to be held September 9, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at Kennedy Theatre on the UH Mānoa campus. The ceremony is open to the public and no reservations are needed.