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Institute Professor in 1966 and director of the Education
Research Center in 1968.
He retired in 1970 as a member of
the faculty but remained active as director of the Education
Research Center until 1972.
As a continuation of research performed at Columbia,
Dr. Zacharias set up a laboratory at M.I.T in 1946 for high
precision investigation of the radio frequency spectra of atoms.
In addition to yielding information on the shapes of nuclei,
this research resulted in the development of the first useful
atomic frequency standard or clock.
Later made commercially
available, such clocks have revolutionized the measurement of
time and frequency throughout the world.
Beginning in 1948, Dr. Zacharias became a leader in
several summer studies and projects important to national defense:
Project Lexington (1948, nuclear powered flight); Project Hartwell
(1950, undersea warfare); Project Charles (1951, air defense);
Project Lamp Light (1954, continental defense); and Summer Study
Program of 1952 in which the D.E.W. Line was conceived.
addition, in 1951 he was associate director of Project Lincoln,
out of which grew M.I.T.'s Lincoln Laboratory.
and 1964 Dr. Zacharias was a member of the President's Science
Advisory Committee for a total of nine years.
He was awarded
the President's Certificate of Merit in 1948 and the Department
of Defense Certificate of Appreciation in 1955.
An awareness of the out-moded methods of teaching physics
in secondary schools prompted Dr. Zacharias to form the Physical
Science Study Committee in 1956.
Supported by grants from the
National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation, the committee mapped out a new program for teaching physics which was tried by eight schools in the fall of 1957. The program was found so effective that it was adopted by 360
secondary schools the following year, and P.S.S.c. physics
is now used by more than 220,000 students in 5,000 schools.
A non-profit corporation, Education Services Incorporated
(E.S.I.), was formed in 1958 to carry on the work of the committee.
E.S.I. subsequently became involved in more than twenty course
content improvement projects at all grade levels, and the new
Dr. Zacharias has been a vice president and acting president.
Dr. Zacharias is a fellow of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science and of the Institute of Electrical
and Electronic Engineers, and a member of the National Academy
of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the
American Institute of Physics, the American Association of
Physics Teachers, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma City University. He holds honorary degrees from Case Western Reserve University, Jacksonville
University, Oklahoma City University, St. Lawrence University,
and Tufts University,
In 1961 he received the Oersted
Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Dr. Zacharias and his wife, the former Leona Hurwitz,
live in Belmont, Massachusetts.
They have two daughters,
Susan of LaJolla, California and Johanna of Washington, D.C,
STATEMENT OF JERROLD B. ZACHARIAS, EDUCATION
DEVELOPMENT CENTER, NEWTON, MASS. Dr. ZACHARIAS. Mr. Pease, it is an honor and a privilege, which I don't frequently get, to testify before committees of this sort.
I would like to appear before you not just in the role of a professional teacher and an educational reformer for school and college, but as someone who has spent a large part of his life in addition to this, being an experimental physicist, with emphasis on the word experimental, an electrical engineer, and a military technologist. And I believe every once in a while in those various roles, I find that the Soviet Union provokes some of us to wonder, “Are we doing the right things?" Let me give a couple of examples.
In 1949, when the Soviet Union exploded their first atomic bomb, some of us had to decide what to do, and of all things, instead of wanting to work on bigger bombs, which I didn't think was the ticket, we had to work on such neglected military pieces of technology as undersea warfare, antisubmarine devices—how do you find those beastly things because we almost lost World War II to the German submarines. But the submarines weren't being attended to. Then we had to look at air defense and that wasn't being attended to, either.
So it is not unusual for me at a time like this to say where are we in trouble? The Soviet Union with its very clear foreign policy is creeping over the globe and what should we do. Clearly atomic bombs are only a standoff against atomic bombs. That is not where the issues
As far as I can see, we have to prepare first-class professional scientists, applied scientists, technologists, and a public which is educated well enough quantitatively to understand what they are talking about.
In other words, here you find that the energy issues that the public faces I would love to recite on energy now; I have been working on it for 6 inonths to try to see if we can get it understandable—you can make it clear but you have to understand the numbers. You have to understand the graphs. You have to be what I call "quantitatively literate," not just to learn a particular branch of somebody's favorite science.
So if I look at today as an opportunity to say what is on my mind, I would like to press only two things, two notions.
Mr. Pease brought up this morning, the issue of scale and scope of funding. And let's take a look.
If we roll together all of the grades from kindergarten through the first 2 years of college, then the country spends about $100 billion a year. I haven't looked the numbers up for this hearing. If it is 90 or 98, it is not important. The important issue is that it is a lot of money. It is big like the military. It is big like transportation. It is not as big as the energy budget.
Now, the question those of us who are professional something else, say professional scientists, engineers, or whatever, do, or have learned to do, is to ask, "Where is the short end of the lever?" You are not going to reform education by trumping up another additive amount that will substantially change that $100 billion a year. In other words, suppose you put in, as the Government does, something like $13 billion a year through an office that is changing its name. That is mostly additive.
Those of us who work on this kind of reform and if you say, well, do you do it technologically, the answer is yes, every time. You hunt for what is going to make a multiplicative change, in other words, how can we change the effectiveness or the productivity of that $100 billion a year. Let's talk about it with respect to science education.
I don't know how much is supposed to go in. I know that mathematics, so called, is—uses something of the order of $10 billion a year, and I think we get precious little for it.
I believe and have believed that it would be possible to treat that subject as a disaster area, and make our $10 billion a year that goes into mathematics education, really pay off.
I believe that the Science Foundation should be in a position to do it and if this committee, if I could do some special pleading on it, and I noticed others this morning doing special pleading, I would say I look at what is most important for science education, not that I want to do it myself. It is that quantitative literacy is something which is spurned, which scares people, which scares the teachers, the adults, the parents. I can give an example.
There is a quite popular television program about the stock market, and they don't seem to know that inflation has hit us, and that the stock market now has figures like 880 for the Dow Jones. Whereas it is something like 400. And if you look at any kind of sensible analysis of where the stock market ought to be, it should be about 3,000. I have had scraps with some economists about where the stock market ought to be, and one of them says, “No, you are wrong, it should be 4,000.”
Now, here is a simple case of something which is so needed for the public: To be able to plot graphs, to be able to handle those graphs and handle the quantities easily, to understand the nature of acceleration-accelerating rates; namely, the inflation rate isn't steady, it is going up, and I happen to be of an age such that inflation even at the present figures, are scary enough, and if I think about what those figures are going to be, and I have, in terms of the upturn, it is pretty sad.
So let me say it another funny way,
A few months ago on the editorial page of the New York Times, in the editorial column, there was a graph. I forget now what it was about. And I wrote the editor a letter of congratulations for putting a graph in an editorial column. It is the only way you could possibly have understood any of this, the only way you will understand the energy business, the only way you will understand most of what has to happen.
Now, again, I believe that that is let me call it a topic, and a special pleading, that can be handled. But it cannot be handled by saying, OK, we will prepare another collection of learning aids. We will include video discs wherever they turn out to be useful; there should be appropriate books and topics and apparatus and things for the students of the various ages from kindergarten through under