Ray O’Neal, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Physics at Florida A&M University, where he directs the AstroParticle and Cosmic Radiation Detector Research and Development Laboratory (APCR-DRDL) and is Co-Principal Investigator for FAMU’s NSF CREST Center for Astrophysical Science and Technology. At FAMU, he is also part of the "founding" faculty of the Ph.D. program in physics. Prof. O’Neal additionally serves as Chief Physicist of the technical advisory board of 510nano, inc., a solar-energy technology company.
Research Interests: Materials, detectors, systems and instrumentation for observational astrophysics. Astrophysical data analysis. Computational astrophysics.
Prof. O’Neal earned his Ph.D in Physics (1995, Solar Physics/X-Ray Astronomy) at Stanford University. He holds an SB in Physics (1986) from MIT, where his thesis advisor was Prof. Jerome I. Friedman, MIT Institute Professor of Physics and winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics.
As staff astrophysicist of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he worked on the Ultra Violet Coronagraph Spectrometer (UVCS) instrument on board the Solar and Heliospheric Observer (SOHO) spacecraft—a joint NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) mission to study the astrophysics of the sun and the nature of the sun–earth space environment. Other positions held prior to his appointment at MIT: Research Associate at Howard University; Visiting Faculty/Scientist at NASA GSFC; and Consultant at Mathematical Modelling, Inc.
Prof. O’Neal’s research as an MLK Visiting Professor focused on developing high-resolution microcalorimeter X-Ray imaging rocket (Micro-X) instrumentation. He worked with Professor Enectali Figuero-Feliciano in the Physics Department, as well as with colleagues in the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. In addition, Prof. O’Neal continued in his efforts to incorporate students from Florida A&M University to work with him on the Micro-X project. He collaborated with Prof. Figueroa-Feliciano to start a Saturday “Open House” aimed at fostering interest in STEM among underrepresented students from local high schools and middle schools.
Prof. O’Neal is an “amateur triathlete (nationally ranked in 2006) and perennial student aviator”.