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Listen or download interview (mp3, 18 minutes, 16MB)
Patrick Kirch’s unusual background laid the groundwork for an unusual career. Growing up in an orchid-growing business on the culturally and biologically diverse Hawaiian Islands, he developed an interest in how natural environments and human cultures can influence each other. That interest deepened in his teens, when a museum’s summer program sent him off to do field research on remote Polynesian islands. He’s been blurring the lines between anthropology, archaeology and environmental studies ever since. Kirch was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1990, in recognition of his work to understand the evolution of Polynesian societies. He holds the Class of 1954 Chair in Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Last Updated: 06-08-2009
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The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.