Peter Thomas Professor of Education / Science

Peter Thomas

Professor of Education / Science
Room 110B | Austin Hall


Dr. Peter Thomas has been a member of the USAO faculty since 1997. He teaches in four areas: chemistry (general and physical chemistry), science education (science for elementary teachers, secondary science teaching methods, and supervises student teachers and first year teachers), basic earth science (introductory geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography), and developmental mathematics (basic math and algebra skills). He is the adviser for the Natural Science major and the Science Teacher Program.

Dr. Thomas continually collects and analyzes data regarding the performance of our science teaching candidates to help design and maintain the accreditation of the USAO Science Teacher Program.  Using this data, he then devises and writes the USAO Science Program Report for the Oklahoma Department of Education and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Dr. Thomas’s other publications include Acid-Base Chemistry in Biological Context, College Physical Chemistry Students’ Conceptions of Equilibrium and Fundamental Thermodynamics, and Parametric Study of Exploding Wire Continuum Radiation.

Dr. Thomas serves as the faculty sponsor of the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society for First Year Students.  He is also the director and one of the instructors for the USAO Brain Waves Gifted Camps.

Dr. Thomas has received the following awards for his teaching: 2016 Finalist for the Regents' Award for Superior Teaching (one of five top candidates), 2014 Finalist for the Regents' Award for Superior Teaching (one of five top candidates), 2007 Chickasha Express/Star Newspaper People's Choice for Favorite University Professor, and 2000 USAO Faculty Appreciation Award.

Before coming to USAO, Dr. Thomas held several positions at the University of Northern Colorado in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry including adjunct professor, laboratory coordinator, co-host of the NSF-funded workshop “Developing Your Physical Chemistry Laboratory," laboratory instructor, tutor, and instructor of chemistry and physics at the university high school. Prior to that he was an electrical engineer for the Hewlett-Packard Company for eleven years working on the design of printer products and new manufacturing processes.


  • Ph.D., Chemical Education, University of Northern Colorado, 1997
  • Dissertation Title: Student Conceptions of Equilibrium and Fundamental Thermodynamic Concepts in College Physical Chemistry
  • Comprehensive Examinations Passed: Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Chemical Education
  • Teaching Certificate in Secondary Science, University of Northern Colorado, 1989
  • B.S.E., Electrical Engineering, University of Michigan, 1978
  • B.S., Chemistry, with High Distinction, Highest Honors in Chemistry, University of Michigan, 1975

Favorite Quotes

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." -- George Bernard Shaw