University of Hawaii at Hilo

Natural Sciences Division

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Robert Pipes

B.A. Physics, B.S. Astronomy, Minor in Mathematics (Class of 2014)


Clubs organizations:

President of UAC - Spring 2012, VP of UAC - Fall 2012

Where you are now and what you're doing: 

I am at UT Austin pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis in Materials Engineering. I am currently researching metal air batteries.

Areas of specialty:

fusion energy, muon physics, atmospheric physics, batteries, energy.

Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career: 

General Atomics (San Diego, CA), UH Hilo (Hilo, HI), NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory (Hilo, HI), UT Austin (Austin, TX).

Brief Bio:

My name is Robert Pipes and I am a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I received a BA in Physics and a BS in Astronomy from UH Hilo in 2014. My primary area of interest is in sustainable energy development. In pursuit of the goal of clean energy, I conducted research on fusion energy at the General Atomics DIII-D tokamak in 2013. At UT Austin, I am conducting research on metal air batteries, which have the potential to be implemented as high-capacity energy storage devices for sustainable energy systems, such as solar arrays and wind farms.

What attracted you to UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy?

UH Hilo's Physics and Astronomy department has a low student to faculty ratio, employs several world class physicists and astronomers as professors, has access and connections to many cutting edge observatories on Mauna Kea, and is in Hawaii!

Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy:

Study hard to get good grades. While employers and graduate schools often place more emphasis on work experience and research, a good GPA can set you apart from a crowd full of experienced candidates. That being said, apply for the Hawaii Space Grant Fellowship. It is an excellent opportunity to conduct meaningful research and get paid well to do so.

Website: None

Email address:

Alumni Robert Pipes class of 2014
  • (Updated September 21, 2015)