Obituary: Alexander Calandra, professor emeritus of physical science in physics in Arts & Sciences

Alexander Calandra, Ph.D., professor emeritus of physical science in the Department of Physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, died Wednesday, March 8, 2006. He was 95.

Calandra, who joined Washington University in 1947 and retired in 1979, was nationally known for his work in science education.

His activities in this area led to his participation in the White House Conference on Education, held in Washington, D.C., in 1969.

In his long academic career, he also held faculty positions at Brooklyn College, Webster College (now Webster University), the University of Chicago and the Ministry of Education in Jamaica.

Some of his innovative programs in junior high school science were developed to meet local needs, including those of the Clayton Schools and the St. Louis program for the gifted.

At the national level, he was an educational consultant for a number of foundations, including the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

One of Calandra’s special fields of interest was the construction and evaluation of examinations. For many years, he was an examiner for the Educational Testing Service, which at the time was known as the Cooperative Test Service.

Another field of interest was science instruction for children, an interest that he developed as the first editor of a St. Louis Post-Dispatch feature at the time called the “Children’s Corner.” He also was a participant in a CBS-TV program called “The Magic People” and served as a frequent guest lecturer at many state-sponsored teacher conferences.

Calandra received many awards for his work in science education, including the Robert A. Millikan Award for the teaching of physics and the Ohaus Award for the improvement of science instruction for non-science majors.

He is internationally known for his essay, “The Barometer Story,” which has been reprinted in more than 200 magazines and books.