College of Science & Mathematics
In a corner office, overlooking the campus quad, John Herrmann often feels like the captain of the Star Trek Enterprise; with a perfect view of the budding spring campus, Herrmann sees the whole world as an observatory.
Professor Herrmann has been with the College of Science and Mathematics for nine years, teaching courses in astronomy as well as math and science seminars for education majors, but says his real home, is in a planetarium.
"I love showing people, especially the students, the stars," exclaimed Herrmann. "My specialty is debunking the popular myths about space in humorous ways."
For over 20 years, Herrmann, known by his audiences as Star Doc, has traveled from Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and New Jersey to give grade school students the chance to look at the stars. With his portable planetarium by Starlab, he set a personal record last year, presenting 28 shows in two days to schools in New Hampshire – a total of 550 students.
Trying to keep the pace this year, Herrmann has done 11 portable shows, along with a show for his own students at the John Stone School in Vineland.
Michelle Woods, a member of Herrmann's seminar class and one of the students who presented one of his portable planetarium shows, appreciates all that Herrman has done for her and her fellow classmates.
"Professor Herrmann, is a caring educator who is devoted and passionate to his field of study. He has the ability to bring science to life and to bring humor to the classroom for all grade levels," Michelle said. "Doc is a memorable teacher."
"I offer my [portable planetarium show] to anyone in my seminar courses that may be student teaching," explained Herrmann. "I like to assist my students."
While Herrmann is known to most for his performances in the Edelman Planetarium as well as his portable shows, he made the news in the Atlantic City Press for breaking the South Jersey record for having 1,400 visitors at the Ocean City High School Observatory.
"For 40 years I've brought physics and astronomy courses to Ocean City and Delsea [high schools]," explained Herrmann. "Astronomy is fun and interesting, and I like to show everyone how it can be used in daily life."
Though Herrmann's love for astronomy dates back to his days as a lecturer and show presenter at Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, the Star Doc believes mathematics is just as important to the topic as a telescope.
"I teach all my students applied trigonometry because it's necessary in identifying astronomical heights as well as navigation," said Herrmann.
Star Doc's office is always open to students, who will find him looking at constellations with his phone, researching, planning and taking in the view of the campus, before he exposes the campus to the wonders of the stars.