Physics of Pō
January 6, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm HST
Public Talk: Physics of Pō
Larry Kimura, Associate Professor, Hawaiian Language & Hawaiian Studies and
Doug Simons, Executive Director, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope
Associated of Universities for Research in Astronomy &
The American Astronomical Society
Monday, 6 January 2020
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Hawai’i Convention Center
1801 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI
Join us for a special evening presentation by Larry Kimura, Associate Professor, Hawaiian Language & Hawaiian Studies and Doug Simons, Executive Director, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope on studies done on the first 11 lines of the Kumulipo, incorporating astronomy theories on the origins of the Universe.
The prelude to the kumulipo, a ~2000 line Hawaiian creation chant, describes the formation of the universe and precedes an extensive description in the chant of the evolution of life forms on earth, through the establishment of the first humans. The kumulipo has been translated several times but Dr. Larry Kimura’s unpublished translation of this chant’s prelude provides remarkable insights into ancient perspectives, some of which appear both counterintuitive and prescient. The term pō appears over 100 times in the chant and is clearly an important element in the Hawaiian creation story. Understanding pō, a vast region of dark empty space from which everything emerged long ago, is essential to understanding Hawaiian cosmology. Though we will never know the original meaning of pō with complete certainty, studying its many forms in the kumulipo through the lens of modern astrophysics leads to a deeper understanding of worldviews and knowledge systems. This also leads to important lessons from nature that transcend generations and help provide context for approaching some of the complex challenges we face.