Anthony Carpi earned a B.S. in Physical Chemistry from Boston College, after which he worked for three years as an air pollution control engineer with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He returned to graduate school at Cornell University in 1990 and earned a master’s and doctoral degree in Environmental Toxicology, completing the research component of his dissertation at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He joined the faculty at John Jay in 1997 and is currently a Professor of Environmental Chemistry. Anthony is a first-generation college student, whose interest in science was nurtured at an early age when he was allowed to disassemble radios without knowing how to reassemble them, blow up small hydrogen gas balloons in his backyard, and short-out his home electrical system with experiments on electromagnetism.
His current research interests broadly fall into two categories: 1) the chemistry and transport of heavy metals, and especially mercury, in the environment; and 2) the teaching of scientific reasoning skills. Regarding the first category, mercury has a complex environmental chemistry that, in part, accounts for its status as the leading cause of pollution advisories on fishing resources in the United States. The Mercury Laboratory he has established at John Jay studies the mechanisms of reduction and subsequent emission of mercury from environmental surfaces such as soils. Specifically, studies in his lab have demonstrated that mercury reduction and transport is associated with incident light, and especially ultraviolet radiation; and inversely correlated with the humic concentration of soils. His research includes a combination of laboratory and field studies to investigate these processes toward understanding the potential effects of global climate change on the environmental mercury cycle. With respect to the second category, he continues to develop resources to improve the teaching of science as a process of investigation, to promote understanding of how scientific advances are made, validated and interpreted, and to encourage the enjoyment of science learning in the classroom.