Falling Apple Science Institute is a nonprofit organization on a mission to promote understanding of natural science.
We use donor contributions to pay for two kinds of work:
1. To research how the basic ideas of science were discovered, which informs how the ideas should be taught.
2. To develop the books and equipment required to learn (and teach) the fundamental ideas of science in a first-handed way.
Falling Apple Science Institute is a non-profit organization working to promote the understanding of natural science. More specifically, our goal is to develop and market a new inductive science curriculum for middle schools and high schools.
Since the 17th century, the world has been transformed by science and the technology springing from it. Yet students still emerge from their education with no deep understanding of the ideas, very little insight into method, and the general impression that science is boring memorization and mathematical manipulation. This is a needless tragedy.
Science comes alive when it is taught inductively. The challenge for educators is to recreate the discovery process so that students can grasp the reasoning that leads from observations to narrow generalizations and eventually to broad theories. When science is presented in this way, it is as if the student himself is the discoverer. He acquires a deep understanding of both the content and method of science—and he learns to appreciate and enjoy the fascinating world around him.
This idea may sound simple, but it is difficult to implement. The development of an inductive curriculum requires in-depth knowledge of history and epistemology. It is much easier just to tell students about the theories, and science textbooks take this easy path. The payoff of the inductive approach, however, is well worth the effort. The students become thinkers rather than the passive recipients of empty dogma.
There is no better way to demonstrate to a young mind the power of reason—and to instill in that mind the confidence in its own power—than by teaching science and mathematics by the proper method.
David Harriman Director David@fallingapple.org
David Harriman guides the development of the science curriculum and serves on the Board of Directors of Falling Apple Science. He has taught laboratory courses on electricity and magnetism at the University of Maryland (where he earned an M.S. degree in physics), and has taught philosophy courses at California State University at San Bernadino (he earned his M.A. degree in philosophy at the Claremont Graduate School). He also developed and taught a two-year physical science course to middle-school students at VanDamme Academy in Laguna Hills, California.
Mr. Harriman has published articles dealing with the work of Galileo and Newton, with science during the 18th century Enlightenment, with the nature of experimental method, and with the development of the atomic theory of matter. His book, The Logical Leap: Induction in Physics, offers profound new insights into the nature of the scientific discovery process and provides the foundation for our inductive science curriculum.
Tom VanDamme Executive Director Tom@fallingapple.org
Tom VanDamme is the executive director of Falling Apple Science and has a lead role in developing the curriculum. He earned his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and his MBA from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.
He taught physics and all levels of math courses at Bay de Noc Community College in Escanaba, Michigan. In 2001, he co-founded VanDamme Academy and served there as COO, principal and science teacher. As the academy’s science curriculum director, he developed courses for the elementary grades and supported Mr. Harriman’s physical science course with laboratory classes.
Leonard Peikoff Board Member
Leonard Peikoff has taught philosophy at Hunter College, Long Island University and New York University. He has lectured on philosophy of education and on the inductive method in physical science. He is the author of The Ominous Parallels and of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, the definitive presentation of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.
Jim Brown, CFA Board Member
Brandes Investment Partners
Jim Brown, a limited partner of the firm’s parent company, is a voting member of the Large-Cap Investment Committee and a Senior Analyst on the Financials Team. In addition, Mr. Brown works with the Quant Team to provide timely stock screening tools to research team leaders. Previously, he was Team Leader on the Financial Institutions Research Team for 10 years and Team Leader on the Utilities Team for 5 years. Before joining Brandes, Mr. Brown was a Senior Vice President with a major national banking organization where he served in various capacities, including Senior Portfolio Manager, Regional Director of investments and head of Texas private banking. His professional experience also includes 10 years as an Air Force pilot and 10 years as an Investment Consultant with a large Wall Street firm. Mr. Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst with 28 years of professional investment experience.TOP