by Karen Teramura
UH scientist Dr. Jeff Kuhn has received a senior research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany on the strength of his cumulative research studying the Sun. This is the first time that a solar scientist from the United States has been given the prize.
Kuhn is the associate director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy who is responsible for Haleakala Observatories. His research has often focused on finding new ways to understand the solar interior by using observations of its surface made by instruments on the ground and in space. His group recently found that, unlike almost everything else that we measure about the Sun, its diameter is constant to better than a few parts in a million.
Kuhn said, “I plan to use this award to develop new models of how and why the solar cycle is so dependent on the death cycle of sunspots.” He added that the physics is not known but critical to understanding how all stars evolve and change, and that “this understanding may ultimately help us predict how and when a changing sun affects Earth’s climate.”
UH astronomers Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, David Sanders and J. Patrick Henry are previous winners of Humboldt Research Awards.
Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts
research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the
sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education,
deep space missions, and in the development and management
of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.
Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association
of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's
sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides
an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees
and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational,
training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls
more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and
around the world.