Students role-play Athenians debating democracy in a Reacting to the Past game at Elon University.

Anthony Crider

Astrophysicist. Professor. Gamer. Dad.


Tony Crider speaks the the opening plenary of the 2014 Annual Faculty Institute for Reacting to the Past at Barnard College.

Tony Crider is a Professor of Physics at Elon University in North Carolina. He received his Ph.D. in space physics and astronomy from Rice University in 1999 and continued his research of gamma-ray bursts 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. Shortly after that, he began using Reacting to the Past role-playing games in his astronomy classes and subsequently invented the chapter-length reacting game. His own game, The Pluto Debate: The International Union Defines a Planet was the first of many science reacting games to receive funding from the National Science Foundation. Recently, Dr. Crider completed a book chapter on visual literacy in astronomy and began studying the morphologies of active galaxies seen with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. His hobbies include playing the guitar, motorcycling, and trying to understand his dog, Murphy.

Research Projects

My research tends to involve aspects of astronomy, computing, education, gaming, and visualization in varying degrees. A more comprehensive list of my research publications and presentations can be found in my curriculum vitae (CV).

Virtual Worlds and Virtual Reality

(Crider & Torrez-Riley 2017)

Visual Literacy in Astronomy

(Crider 2015)

The Pluto Debate Role-Playing Game

(Crider 2011)

Hydrogen Regions in Starburst Galaxies

(Crider, Richardson, & Kaiser 2016)

SETI Educational Activities

(Crider & Weston 2012)

STEM Reacting Games

(Henderson, Daughtrey, & Crider 2009)

Epic Finales vs. Final Exams

(Crider 2015)

Elon Noyce Scholar Program

(Carpenter, Crider, & Richardson 2011)

Extragalactic Magnetar Flares

(Crider 2006)


Here are a few select videos featuring conference talks, interviews, and online tutorials I've done.

Elon's Eclipse: A View from the Carolinas

Experiential Education on the Edge

Galileo's Astronomy: Then and Now

What is Second Life?

1er. Congreso Internacional de InnovaciĆ³n Educativa

Introduction of John Tumbleston '06

The Meade LX-10 Astronomy Lab

How Does RTTP Help Students Learn?


Mailing Address

2320 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244

Virtual Address