Peter Nolan, M.S. ’66, Ph.D. ’74

Alumni, Veteran and Military, Professionals

Peter Nolan, M.S. ’66, Ph.D. ’74


May 17, 2013

Peter Nolan, M.S. ’66, Ph.D. ’74


Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.

Professor of Physics, Farmingdale State College

Favorite Professor: Anthony Lemos

Advice to Current Students: Work is doing what you have to do. Play is doing what you like to do. Find a job that you like to do.

Inspired to Teach

Dr. Peter Nolan came to Adelphi to pursue a master’s in applied mathematics. He was almost finished with the degree when he took a theoretical physics course with Anthony Lemos of the Adelphi University Physics Department. One class with Professor Lemos changed everything.

“I loved his style of teaching,” said Dr. Nolan of Professor Lemos, whose influence motivated him to switch his major to physics. “Professor Lemos was the best teacher I’ve ever had. He started with the basics, step by step, and then built upon that until he explained everything you needed to know.”

At the time he was pursuing his master’s at Adelphi, Mr. Nolan was working at Grumman Aircraft and Space Corp. Mr. Nolan, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College, spent three years in the Air Force, where he received training in prop planes. Following his service, he gained further engineering experience working at corporations such as Sperry Gyroscope and Fairchild Camera and Instrument, before joining Grumman. At Grumman, he worked on a number of innovative projects, including the Lunar Module.

While clearly a talented engineer with the potential for an impressive career in the field, Dr. Nolan was inspired by the example of Professor Lemos to take a different professional path. In 1967 he joined the faculty at Farmingdale State College. While he started teaching physics at the college-level, he continued his studies toward a Ph.D. at Adelphi, with Professor Lemos as his mentor and dissertation adviser.

Clearly he found his niche as a professor; he’s been teaching physics ever since. He loves what he does; at nearly 80 years old, he has no intention of retiring. Throughout the years, he has received accolades for his performance. He has been selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and has received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, from the State University of New York.

In addition to teaching, he has also authored a number of books, including Fundamentals of College Physics, Experiments in College Physics, Physics for Science and Engineering Students, Electromagnetic Theory for Electrical Technology Students and Fundamentals of Meteorology. The Italian translation of his college physics textbook, Fondamenti Di Fisica, is being used internationally, at the University of Florence, Padua University, and the University of Milan.

It may be nearly 40 years since he graduated from Adelphi, but the lessons Dr. Nolan learned from his favorite professor continue to guide his teaching today. “I owe so much of my teaching life to Professor Lemos,” he said. “He was a great inspiration.”

Dr. Nolan has a wife, four sons and four grandchildren. He loves to travel, and has been to Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Poland, Prague and Egypt.

Published May 2013


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