Tribute to a Pioneer in Phenomenological Physics
In its search for causal explanations, modern science has increasingly come to focus on particles, genes, and other hypothetical elements that lie beyond direct human experience. This reductionist approach has led to powerful new technologies, but it has failed to give us an understanding of nature as we can actually experience it in its richness and depth.
Stephen Edelglass entered MIT at sixteen and began teaching physics at Cooper Union at age twenty-two. Because of his deep connection with the arts and with nature, he increasingly felt the dichotomy between his vibrant experience of nature and the abstract world of theoretical physics. At thirty-seven he met Rudolf Steiner’s philosophy, Waldorf education, and a new phenomenological approach to science that satisfied him both as a keen, appreciative observer and as a thinker. He gave up his position as a university professor, began teaching high school physics using an experiential approach, and became a prime-mover in the development of phenomenological science in North America.
“In these essays we are led by Edelglass to a deeply phenomenological engagement with the natural world. Through that encounter the inquiring human being can come to a direct perception of the deep coherence that moves through and creates the beauty around us. I highly recommend these writings to all who long for a more intimate understanding of natural phenomena.” — Arthur Zajonc, Professor of Physics, Amherst College, author of Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry and Catching the Light
- Biographical Introduction
- Empowering Students through Science Education
- Isaac Newton and the Chickens
- Physics and Reality
- What is Matter?
- Light as Activity
- Model-Free Cognition
About the Author
Stephen Edelglass was a founding member of SENSRI and its co-director until his death in November 2000. He was a graduate of MIT (BS and MS in mechanical engineering) and the Stevens Institute of Technology (MS, physics, and Ph.D. in metallurgy). Dr. Edelglass was a Professor of mechanical engineering at Cooper Union in New York, Director of Science at the Threefold Educational Foundation in Chestnut Ridge, New York, and a member of the graduate faculty at Sunbridge College in Spring Valley. He was the recipient of a National Science Foundation Faculty Fellowship. He was the author of several books on materials science and philosophy of science and wrote a number of research papers in the areas of materials science, epistemology, and pedagogy. Dr. Edelglass was coauthor of Being on Earth (2006) and The Marriage of Sense and Thought (1997). His later writings and lectures have been recently published as The Physics of Human Experience (2006).