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Musical Astronomers Help Raise Funds
for Hawaii Public Radio


Dr. Bob Joseph and Dr. Alan Stockton discussed astronomy and music with HPR listeners, while Nancy Lyttle (on the phone) and Jill Kajikawa-Kent (sitting with back to camera) took pledges.

Three Institute for Astronomy scientists who are also musicians joined Hawaii Public Radio (HPR) President Michael Titterton on the air on October 18 to help raise funds for the stations. IfA Director Rolf-Peter Kudritzki is well known for his guitar playing and vocalizing. Dr. Alan Stockton plays the violin and recorder, and Dr. Bob Joseph is a member of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus.

The three scientists answered questions and commented about their favorite topics, astronomy and music. They also donated a fund-drive premium: an astronomer-guided tour for four of either Haleakala or Mauna Kea Observatories for someone making a gift of $4,000 to HPR. A listener snapped it up in seconds.

In addition, IfA staff members Nancy Lyttle, Karen Toyama, Jill Kajikawa-Kent, and Joan Yanagihara volunteered their time to take fund-drive pledges called in by listeners. Later that evening, when the fund drive was broadcast live from the Borders store in Hilo, IfA Associate Director Klaus Hodapp also participated.

In response to a question about the Institute's role on Mauna Kea and Haleakala, Dr. Kudritzki described the IfA's participation in new, exciting telescope projects such as Pan-STARRS and the Faulkes educational telescope. Dr. Stockton talked about the concept of the Universe as a time machine, saying that astronomers can analyze light that left distant galaxies 10 billion years ago to learn about events that happened long before Earth formed. (Scientists estimate Earth's age is a relatively young 4.5 billion years.) Dr. Joseph eloquently advanced his theory of a close connection between music and astronomy. He said many physicists and mathematicians have a profound appreciation for music.

Public radio staff enthusiastically welcomed the IfA's contribution. Mr. Titterton expressed an interest in returning the favor and in maintaining a close working relationship with the IfA.