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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 14, 2001

Let's hear it for star-gazing, marine sciences

We reveled in the University of Hawai'i's unexpected 72-45 football victory over Brigham Young.

Now let's celebrate a scientific victory — make that two.

According to the National Research Council, UH's Institute of Astronomy ranks No. 2 among university programs whose research is most frequently cited.

Based on 1999 tallies, UH came in second to top-ranked Princeton, and is ahead of Caltech, Harvard, Columbia and Yale.

For that, we can thank the observatory atop Mauna Kea and the university's strong commitment to astronomy, as well as the talent the program attracts.

Another area where UH should and does excel is in oceanography. The latest prize goes to marine microbiologist David Karl. He won the prestigious international A.G. Huntsman Award for excellence in marine science for his discovery of new groups of micro-

organisms in the ocean around Hawai'i that are supplying the planet with oxygen.

It's that kind of discovery that draws international attention to UH research and coveted grant money.

And so, as our state university gets hammered by budget woes and poor ratings in national academic surveys, let's not forget to celebrate the quiet stars who make scientific breakthroughs without the cheerleaders and crowds egging them on.