University of Hawaii at Hilo

Natural Sciences Division

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics and Astronomy Faculty
Emeritus and in Memorium

Robert A. Fox (emeritus) William D. Heacox (emeritus) Richard A. Crowe
(in Memoriam)
Norman G. Purves (in Memoriam)

Robert A. Fox (Emeritus)

Ph.D., New York University, 1971

Robert A. Fox (Emeritus)

Professor Fox retired from the University in 2009, after serving for almost forty years.  During many of these years, he chaired the Physics and Astronomy Department.  He served several terms as Chair of the Faculty Senate and was Head of the Natural Sciences Division.  Dr. Fox’s professional career has taken several turns over the years.  His original research was in multiphoton ionization of alkalai metals and positron chemistry.  In 2001, he co-founded the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and served as its Deputy Director until his retirement.  More recently, Dr. Fox has become recognized as an international expert in the politics and policy of school choice having published extensively in major educational journals.  His recent book, “Proud to be Different: Ethnocentric Niche Charter Schools in America,” was published in 2014 by Rowman & Littlefield, and he is currently under contract with Wiley-Blackfield to produce a definitive “Handbook of School Choice. 

William D. Heacox (Emeritus)

Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 1977

William D. Heacox

Professor Heacox holds degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy. He received several research, instrumentation, and training grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and private foundations. He is a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the American Geophysical Union. He has held professional positions at NASA’s Goddard and Johnson Space Flight Centers, and Ames Research Center; the Lunar & Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona; Carter Observatory (New Zealand); the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii; and at the University of Hawaii at Hilo from 1996 until his retirement in 2012. He taught the full range of undergraduate astronomy courses and also several upper-division physics courses. 

Professor Heacox is a combat veteran of the Vietnam conflict, where he flew more than 200 reconnaissance missions. He served as a smokejumper in Montana and trained briefly as a space shuttle mission specialist candidate. His hobbies include photography and the collection and study of geological minerals.

Contact Prof. Heacox.

Richard Crowe (In Memoriam)

Ph.D., University of Toronto, Canada, 1984

Richard A. CroweDr. Richard Crowe was an astronomy professor in the Department from 1987 until his death in 2012. His teaching responsibilities included many lower and upper-division courses in both physics and astronomy.
Dr. Crowe obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Astronomy from the University of Western Ontario in 1977 and his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1984. Before joining the Department he was the Resident Observer for the University of Toronto 24-inch Southern Observatory at Las Campanas, Chile (1977-1978) and the Canadian Resident Astronomer for the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT) (1984-1987), the latter with scientific and public relations duties. His research was in the areas of pulsating stars, stellar evolution and spectroscopy. He also had an interest in the area of science education and criticism of pseudoscience. Prof. Crowe was the Astronomer-in-Residence at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i since 2006, and did many planetarium presentations in that capacity.


Norman G. Purves (In Memoriam)

M.S., University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1979

Norman G. PurvesUH Hilo Instructor of Physics and Astronomy. His teaching responsibilities at UH Hilo are General Physics Laboratory, General Astronomy and Laboratory, and Physics for the Liberal Arts.