Institute for Astronomy Home
IFA Home Page   |    Search   |    Other Editions    No. 13 - Fall 2004 
  All Articles  


Reinking Donates Student Recruitment Fund

Greg Reinking with Rolf Kudritzki

Rolf Kudritzki shows Greg Reinking graduate student recruitment materials.

A generous contribution from local radiologist, author, and amateur astronomer Greg Reinking has established a fund to help recruit the world's top students to UH's astronomy graduate program. The Reinking Graduate Student Recruitment and Retention Fund supports graduate students at the institute by means of grants or loans given at the discretion of the IfA director upon the recommendation of the graduate chair.

Said Reinking, "When Graduate Chair Gareth Wynn-Williams came to me and explained some of the difficulties of recruiting, I thought back to my own experiences in applying for and choosing a graduate program. I could see how such a fund might provide a crucial incentive to help a top student decide to enter the graduate program at Hawaii, so I was pleased to be able to help out."

Reinking is building the fund with contributions given annually over a period of six years (the typical length of time needed for an astronomy PhD). It is already making an impact. Three first-year students received loans upon their arrival to help them cope with Honolulu's severe housing shortage and high rental costs. The loans will be paid back next summer.

Wynn-Williams commented, "Every year some of the world's top astronomy and physics graduates apply to UH's graduate school, and we try very hard to persuade them to come to Hawaii rather than, say, Harvard, Caltech, or Berkeley. They know that we have the best research facilities in the world, but the high cost of relocation and living in Hawaii can also be a factor in their decision about which graduate school to choose. Greg's fund will give us the flexibility to offer financial assistance to new graduate students in special cases."

A radiologist at Kuakini Hospital and Pali Momi Medical Clinic, Reinking moved to Honolulu about three years ago. He brought along the 10-inch Meade telescope he had purchased while in graduate school. Because of the city environment and his demanding work schedule, he offered the telescope to the UH Manoa Department of Physics and Astronomy. This led to the introduction to Wynn-Williams and the gift of the telescope to the IfA.

Astronomy, and particularly cosmology, remains a key interest of Reinking. He attends institute colloquia and talks offered to the Friends of Hawaii Astronomy whenever his schedule permits. He is the author of Cosmic Legacy: Space, Time, and the Human Mind, a lucid and ambitious book that takes the scientific layman on a journey through the evolving Universe from the Big Bang and the origin of life to the social problems threatening humanity's future. Published in 2003, it has been described by the Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies as a "truly remarkable book."