A Brief History of SENSRI
In 1991, Stephen Edelglass and Michael D'Aleo met at Sunbridge College in Chestnut Ridge, NY, where Michael was completing his Waldorf Teaching Studies prior to co-founding the high school at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. Stephen was a high school teacher of physics at the nearby Green Meadow Waldorf School. Both had backgrounds in science: Michael as a mechanical engineer in the electronics industry, and Stephen as a physics professor. Almost immediately Stephen and Michael began to collaborate on a number of projects. These collaborations resulted in a conference entitled Life and Biological Form which took place in Saratoga Springs in 1996 and the coauthoring of the book Sensible Physics Teaching, a guide for teaching physics in the 6th through 8th grade, which was published in 1998.
In 1999, SENSRI was formed out of the collaboration of Michael and Stephen with the help and support of Kim Klopstock and Hanna Edelglass (two of SENSRI's current board members). Kim was a parent of two Waldorf students and was strongly inspired by the phenomena-based approach to science that Michael brought in his teaching of her two children. Stephen's wife Hanna also provided many valuable suggestions during the formative stages of the organization. SENSRI was formally incorporated in August, 1999. SENSRI's first big event was a weekend fundraiser at the Saratoga Art Center in October of that year. In addition to Michael and Stephen as the two primary researchers, Georg Maier, a physics researcher in Dornach, Switzerland, and Ron Brady, a philosophy professor from Ramapo, New Jersey, participated as associate researchers. (It is worth noting that Tim Scherbatskoy, one of our present researchers, was also at the inaugural event in 1999.)
One of SENSRI's first projects was work on a book that Stephen had been working on with Georg Maier and Ron Brady. This manuscript was a further development of themes in their previous book, The Marriage of Sense and Thought (1997). Another major project was research that Michael initiated to examine the basis of theories on global warming and climate change. In the summer of 2000 both projects were progressing well. In November of 2000, however, Stephen died after being ill for three months, halting work on these projects.
At this time, Tim Scherbatskoy, a professor in forest ecology from the University of Vermont, moved to Saratoga Springs and joined SENSRI as an associate researcher. Tim's research interest was in the area of forest health, particularly the cycling of pollutants in forest trees, and this led to collaboration with Michael on the dynamics and activity of water in natural systems.
Michael finally published the paper Water, Energy and Global Warming (2001) in NetFuture (www.NetFuture.org) with the help of Stephen Talbot of the Nature Institute. The nascent book project, Being on Earth, continued with Ron and Georg, but since Ron's unexpected death in 2003, it has been carried by Georg as the sole author with support from SENSRI and the Nature Institute.
Michael and Tim began work in 2003 on the Living Fluids Project, a SENSRI study of how fluids move in the natural world including, trees, streams, mineral springs and human circulation. In 2004 they received a grant for this research from the Nordlys Foundation. This research is ongoing and has resulted in a few presentations and workshops on water activity and movement; data collection on the characteristics of artesian springs in Saratoga Springs continues throughout the year.
In March of 2005 SENSRI began co-sponsorship Teaching Sensible Science, a course designed to teach phenomena-based methods of science to 6th, 7th and 8th grade class teachers in Waldorf Schools. This course, consisting of three sessions a year, has been taught twice in Saratoga Springs, and other cycles are being planned for other locations.
Currently (2006) SENSRI is focusing on measurements and experimental research on the activity of natural waters, and on developing educational programs in phenomenological science to be launched in 2007. These will include programs for adults and for high school students. Additionally, a graduate program is being developed.