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Tony Crider

Associate Professor of Physics
McMichael Science Building 003L
2625 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
acrider@elon.edu (336) 278-6268

Brief Biography

Tony Crider is an Associate Professor of Physics at Elon University in North Carolina.  He received his Ph.D. in space physics and astronomy from Rice University in 1999 studying gamma rays and X-rays emitted by newly formed black holes. He continued this work as a National Research Council associate at the Naval Research Laboratory. Before moving to Elon, Dr. Crider taught at American University where he coordinated the Multimedia Design and Development program. His interest in science visualization led him to create virtual planetariums, telescopes, and lunar landscapes within the 3D online world of Second Life.  In 2006, he co-founded the SciLands, an archipelago of Second Life islands dedicated to science education and outreach.  Currently, Dr. Crider is assessing the effectiveness of both Second Life and short “Reacting to the Past” role-playing games in science courses.  He is also using robotic telescopes and computer modeling to study near-Earth asteroids.  His hobbies include playing the guitar, motorcycling, and sharing Flickr photos and YouTube videos.



  • 1999 - Ph. D. in Space Physics and Astronomy
  • Thesis: Analysis and Interpretation of Gamma-Ray Burst Continuum Spectral Evolution with BATSE Data
  • Thesis Advisor: Edison P. Liang
  • 1998 – M. S. in Space Physics and Astronomy


  • 1993 – Bachelor of Science (Physics major, Mathematics minor)

Employment History

Elon University

Associate Professor of Physics (2006-present)

Applied for and awarded multiple National Science Foundation grants related to science education. Created and assessed both in-class and on-line games for use in university classrooms.  Developed and taught courses for the General Studies, Honors, Physics, and iMedia programs.

Chair, Department of Physics (2008-2012)

Spearheaded the five-year physics department plan, with emphasis on science outreach and communication. Organized a new on-campus robotics initiative with local high schools. Created a new minor in astronomy and revised the major in physics.

Assistant Professor of Physics (2002-2006)

Developed and tested classroom pedagogies in astronomy and physics courses. Continued research in gamma-ray astronomy. Guided student construction of a robotic observatory.

American University

Interim Coordinator of Multimedia Design & Development Program (2001-2002)

Coordinated the efforts of departments in the interdisciplinary multimedia degree program. Collected data and calculated projections for enrollments.

Assistant Professor (2000-2002)

Instructed physics courses, incorporating on-line homework, Just-in-Time Teaching, and workshop physics pedagogies. Renovated physics laboratories into learning studios.

Naval Research Laboratory

National Research Council Associate (1999-2000)

Investigated sensitivity limitations of a gamma-ray calorimeter for NASA’s Gamma-ray Large Area Space. Discovered that the planned data-suppression scheme would unacceptably degrade energy resolution below NASA specifications.

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Research Assistant (1992, 1993-1994, 1995, 1996)

Processed data from Pioneer Venus Orbiter to create a gamma-ray burst catalog. Ran simulations of atmospheric radiation transfer to optimize design a remote-sensing satellite. Tested maximum-entropy methods for image analysis of ALEXIS soft X-ray satellite data. Upgraded existing neutron-scattering analysis code to use new version of commercial maximum entropy package.

Courses Taught

  • COM 563         Virtual Environments
  • GST 201          Astronomy in Mexico: Maya to Modern
  • GST 364          Technology and Society
  • HNR 237         Life in the Universe
  • PHY 102          Introduction to Astronomy
  • PHY 102L        Astronomy Lab                       
  • PHY 111          General Physics
  • PHY 112          General Physics II
  • PHY 113          General Physics with Calculus
  • PHY 205          Galactic Astronomy
  • PHY 251          Numerical and Mathematical Methods in Physics
  • PHY 313          Modern Astrophysics

Grants Awarded

Elon University Noyce Scholars Program, $1,199,448

Co-PI, National Science Foundation (2011-2016)

Collaborative Research: Reacting to the Past Pedagogy for Science Education, $190,366

Co-PI, National Science Foundation, (2009-2012)

Testing a "Quest-Points-Level" Game Structure in the Astronomy Classroom

Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning Scholar, Elon University (2006-2008)

Determining the Rate of Magnetar Flares in Nearby Galaxies, $6,573

Faculty Research and Development Grant, Elon University (2005)

Simulating Maya Astronomy with Desktop Planetarium Software, $2,575

Technology Course Enhancement Grant, Elon University (2004)

Desktop Planetarium Software for the Astronomy Classroom, $702

Technology Course Enhancement Grant, Elon University (2003)

Science Education in a Studio Environment: Phase I, $4,896

University Curriculum Development Support Award, American University (2001)

Filming and Editing “Street Physics” Films, $810

General Education Faculty Assistant Program Award, American University (2001)

Gauging Student Utilization of Digitally Delivered Lectures, $1,568

College of Arts & Sciences Mellon Award, American University (2000)

Service Activities

  • Graduate Council (2013-2015)
  • North Carolina Science Festival Planning Group (2012-2014)
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Curriculum Development Group (2010-2012)
  • NBC Learn Evaluation Group (2011-2012)
  • Curriculum Committee (2010)
  • Visual Culture working group (2008-2013); Co-Chair (2009-2010)
  • Subcommittee on Reassigned Time (2010-2012)
  • SCALE-UP Planning Group (2009)
  • University and College Union/Israel boycott task force (2007)
  • On-line Student Evaluation of Teaching Evaluation Committee (2007-2008)
  • CATL Advisory Board (2006-2010)
  • Lumen Prize Committee (2007-2009)
  • Academic Council (2005-2008)
  • Family Work Policy Committee (2005-2006)
  • Workload and Teaching Load Subcommittee (2002-2005); Chair (2003-2005)
  • Goldwater Scholarship Search Committee (2002-2003)