Skip to content

Barbara Bruno


Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology

Barbara Bruno is on the faculty of the Hawai‘i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology at the University of Hawai‘i (UH). She also serves on the graduate faculty of the UH Department of Earth and Planetary Science and College of Education. Dr. Bruno spent the first part of her career studying planetary volcanism. She applied mathematical methods to better understand volcanic processes on Earth and other planets. One of her research discoveries is that lava flow margins are fractal, and that lava flow composition and emplacement mechanisms can be deduced by quantifying the shape of the lava flow margin.

In the second part of her career, she developed a strong interest in geoscience education and broadening participation. She now uses the classroom and education programs as a laboratory to conduct geoscience education research. She is interested in attracting diverse students to the geosciences and creating an environment in which they can thrive. She is particularly committed to serving students from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM, including women, indigenous students, ethnic and racial minorities, and first-generation college students.

Dr. Bruno holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Geological Sciences, both from Brown University. She earned a Master of Science (MS) and Doctorate (PhD) in Geology and Geophysics, both from UH. Dr. Bruno has over 60 publications in the scientific and science education literature. She has raised over $60 million in funding as Principal Investigator, Co-Principal Investigator and/or Education Director of awards funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and private foundations. Her personal interests include stand-up paddling, hiking, camping, and Spanish language and culture.