Toms River Regional Schools Hall of Fame

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Anthony G. Calamai

Dr. Anthony G. Calamai, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Appalachian State University, attended Toms River Schools from East Dover Elementary -- where he remembers Mr. Sneden in the sixth grade -- through Toms River lntermediate (today's lntermediate East) and High School South. where he says, "My record from high school will indicate that I was a very radical adolescent."

He has also remarked that he, among others, fondly remembers Mr. Albert DeAngelo, Mrs. A. M. Friday, and Mr. Gerry Rich very well. When participating in Mr. Rich's senior English poetry project, Dr. Calamai was advised by Mr. Rich, "Tony, I appreciate your effort, but stick to science and math."

Following those remarks and his own talents, he has stuck to science and made outstanding contributions to its advancement and understanding. He attended Stockton State College from 1977-1984 for his Bachelor of Science degree. After graduating, he then taught high school at Admiral Farragut Academy. Resuming his academic science career in physics, in 1985 he enrolled at North Carolina State University for his master's degree, which he earned in 1987. In 1990, he received his doctorate from North Carolina State University and proceeded to Harvard University for two years as a Postdoctoral Fellow from 1990-1992.

Along with his professorship of physics and astronomy and chair of the department of physics and astronomy at his current university, Dr. Calamai served on the faculty of Saint Joseph's University as associate professor of physics and director of the department of physics, from 1996-2000. At the end of his final year on the faculty at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia in 1996, he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Other institutions, with which Dr. Calamai has been affiliated, include the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Maryland campus; Max Planck lnstitut fijr Kernphysik, Heidleberg, Germany; the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C; and he has most recently begun a collaboration with the planetary sciences division of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

His resume lists twenty-three publications and numerous presentations, including "Ion Loss Corrections to Radiative Lifetime Measurements Obtained From Low-Energy Ion Traps" and "Visualizing Solutions to Laplace's Equation With Cylindrical Symmetry Using Microsoft Excel." I mention these because I could pronounce the words in them. Additionally, he notes twenty-five peer-reviewed articles, proposals, and grants, like "Time-Resolved Spectroscopy of Metastable States of Atmospherically Relevant Ions" and "Electric Quadrupole and Magnetic Dipole Transition Probabilities Within the Ground Configuration of F+." Five invited lectures cover a sample topic, like "Radiative Lifetimes and Transition Probabilities Using Ion Storage Techniques."

All of these long words and enumerations mean that our candidate developed new ways for measuring the rates at which ions emit light. An ion is an atom or molecule that has acquired an electric charge. The most interesting and fruitful techniques that he pursued, he says, "were contrary to conventional wisdom", which allowed precision measurements on atomic and molecular ions that have an impact on the chemistry and equilibrium in places such as the earth's upper atmosphere, where ozone production is relevant, and the sun's coronal region. His development(s) "have been successfully adopted by other experimentalists for studies of other atomic and molecular ions." The future of his work includes "further optical studies of species relevant to the upper atmosphere and space, laser spectroscopy of stored molecular ions, intermediately-charged ion capture techniques, and the development of noninvasive optical probes for biological applications." Dr. Calamai's publications have been cited more than 100 times by distinguished authors internationally.

Dr. Calamai's community service covers education outreach functions, and he has served as a proposal reviewer for the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education. One of his chief interests is encouraging and enhancing science education. He believes his major impact arises from teaching undergraduates the scientific method by involving them in meaningful experiments in his research. Many of these students are now pursuing graduate degrees in physics and engineering at universities as prestigious as Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

He is married to Susan Choo Calamai, has two daughters, Jenna and Hayley; two cats, Soot and Cinder; a boneheaded Coon Hound, Louie; and today lives on Locust Lane in Boone, North Carolina, a truly fortuitous allusion for those who remember when Route 37 was Locust Street.

The Toms River Schools Hall of Fame is proud to recognize Anthony Calamai for his exceptional contributions to science and education. Through his remarkable career, he is advancing the knowledge and wisdom necessary for us to more thoroughly understand our environment and universe through precision measurements of atomic and molecular parameters and by coaching (teaching) future leaders in science and engineering.


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