|I may feel the same on the inside, but the outside's another matter...|
"How infinitesimal is the importance of anything I can do,
but how infinitely important it is that I should do it." -- Voltaire
Education and Employment
I received a BA in Astronomy and Physics and an MA in Astronomy from UCLA, and was working on a doctoral dissertation on the distribution of galaxies in the Universe when I took a position as Long Beach City College's (at that time sole) astronomy instructor, in June of 1970. I have been at LBCC ever since, teaching on a full-time basis (and for many years, carrying nearly a double load to accommodate increasing enrollment) for 39 years. I retired from full-time teaching in May 2009, but continued to teach a reduced number of classes. I will permanently retire in May 2012, after 42 years at LBCC. During that time I have taught tens of thousands of students, and have greatly appreciated the notes many of them have taken the time to write, telling me how much of a difference my classes made in their lives. No matter what I may accomplish in later years, my time at City College will remain a defining episode of my life.
Minor Notes Concerning Address
Once I discovered how much I preferred teaching to research I abandoned my doctoral research, so although it is appropriate to call me "Professor Seligman", "Doctor Seligman" is incorrect. Also, once I retired from full-time teaching I technically became an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy; but since most people don't know what an Emeritus Professor does (which varies according to the Professor and the institution he worked or continues to work at), and my web presence has if anything been enhanced by the extra time I gained to work on extracurricular activities when I retired, this is the only webpage on which I mention that my official title has changed.
Contacting / Following Me On the Net
Aside from this website, its toolbar and RSS feed, now that I have finished my second novel, and have something to blog about, I maintain an Amazon Author page. I also have an About.Me page, which provides a number of ways to find out about me and my activities, and to contact me (note: one such activity is answering questions at AllExperts.com; but I am taking temporary leave from that site while I wrap up my affairs at LBCC, so the appropriate link has been deactivated until later this year).
To contact me, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me at FaceBook.com.
Although as noted above, I abandoned research soon after I started at LBCC, if you are interested in my early research, Google Scholar lists a number of articles and citations of articles that I worked on as an undergraduate and graduate student at UCLA (the link is to the first search page for my name).
My main astronomical activity at the moment (and I expect, the rest of my life) is the web site I maintain for my students and the general public at cseligman.com. Although part of the site is devoted to my classes, there are close to 800 pages and more than 4000 images which are continually being added to and organized into an Online Astronomy Text and Sky Atlas, which are of general interest (as evidenced by the fact that the site has more than a million visitors a year).
For most of the last 40 years I have also held Friday evening Astronomy Open Houses about once a month during the school year. As a result of my retirement those ended on April 27, but may resume on an occasional basis, most likely in 2013.
Reading, Writing, and Recreation
My current interests include reading, playing the piano, and writing. In the late 1970's and early 80's, I was very involved with American-style ballroom dancing. It was through dancing that I met my wife -- a very nice bonus for what was already a very pleasurable avocation -- and although we haven't danced competitively for many years, we still enjoy an occasional turn around the floor. (Less energetic pursuits, such as walking and bowling, are now my main forms of recreation.)
I also used to enjoy writing computer code, using punched paper tape on aBendix G-15 in the early 60's, Hollerith cards for FORTRAN batch programs on an IBM mainframe in the mid 60's, TV Typewriters for interactive gaming in the late 60's (click here to read a note about that), and in the mid 80's, BASIC and assembly language on an Apple II (the true geek's heavenly body). Once computers became tools, instead of geek toys, I abandoned coding for real-world writing, such as my website and novels; but I still enjoy reminiscing about the dinosaurs I used to play with, and find them quite useful as doorstops.
Posing with friends on a (1965?) hike to the top of Mount Silliman. I used to love hiking, and especially enjoyed body-sledding down one of the snowfields surrounding the mountain, on the way back; but after getting sun poisoning on this trip, I began to confine my walking to twilight and night-time hours.