Jim's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Hawaii Roadtrip

JIM KAUAHIKAUA

Geophysicist
U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)

“My heart would always beat a little faster when we’d come across some sort of lava flow.”

INTERESTS:

Science Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Dedication Goals Chance Experience Community Self-Reflection Passion Beliefs & Faith Culture Education Fear

FOUNDATION:

Accomplishing Goals

BIOGRAPHY:

  • In high school, he was interested in science; the “popular” field at the time was oceanography, so he decided to study that.
  • He went to the University of Southern California, where the introductory oceanography course plan included a geography class.
  • Right away, he was hooked on geography; he loved being able to study a rock formation and see what it’d been through.
  • While he was in California, he realized how lucky he’d been to grow up in Hawaii, such a geographically unique spot.
  • After interning with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, he returned to Hawaii.
  • He earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, then joined the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
  • In 2004, he was named the 19th scientist-in-charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—the first of Hawaiian ancestry.
  • After serving as scientist-in-charge for ten years, he transitioned back into a research position as a geophysicist.

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