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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %HISTORY ESSAYS PROGRAM AUTHOR WRITE TYPE LETTER 930326 The roots of the development of this ESSAYS System go back to high school days when as a high school junior I was encouraged by the Admissions Department at Park College to skip my senior year of high school and become a freshman at Park during what would have been my senior year. Two brothers and a sister had preceded me at Park. There were social and financial considerations, but also I wanted to learn to type during my senior year of high school. I finished high school in the normal pattern. Fast typing became central to my life as a writer, computer programmer and political leader. At Tufts University my Ph.D. thesis was to involve much computation so I took initiatives which lead to an MIT workshop on FORTRAN programming being offered at the Tufts Physics Department. That lead to my learning FORTRAN out of an IBM FORTRAN manual---during two years in which I wrote my first ever computer program of about 2,000 computer cards; and use it to analyze my Ph.D. thesis data on hyper-fragments via charge, energy and momentum conservation considerations. While working on my Ph.D. in physics I was involved in the New England Peace Movement and in the Congress of Racial Equality's sympathy picketing of Woolworth's Stores of the Boston Area during the early Civil Rights Movement. My wife and I were active in the vital life of First Church, Cambridge; The very First Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We first went to First Church to hear Paul Tillich speak to a youth group there. In cooperation with undergraduates, graduate students faculty and administrators at Tufts I helped start what was called the Vital Issues Program, VIP. It focused upon current controversial issues. I led a peace march from Boston to New London, and wrote many post-card letters to the editor of the Christian Science Monitor; the beginning of writings which later grew into my essays. About half my letters were published, as was also a very long piece put in the middle of the editorial page; a piece about the impossibility of inter-stellar space travel. In it was the kernel of my later recognitions of the importance of acknowledging the impossibility of many of our attempts to be in control. At Coe College I was successful in getting the college and NSF to go together in buying for $64,000 an IBM 1130 computer of 8k core and 0.5 Meg disk storage for academic computing, and served as the director of the new computer center. The desire to include students in decision making regarding the academic use of the computer led to including students on virtually all the college committees before the students' anger and rage of the late 1960's developed. I sought ways to make the computer more accessible to students, especially in physics laboratory work. I hosted at Coe an early mini- conference on small college computer use in physics, with about a dozen participants from across the nation. The next year a larger conference of about four dozen participants was held at the Annapolis Naval Academy. The following year there was a conference on small college computing with about 2,000 participants at Dartmouth College where BASIC was born. It became clear to me that we were all hackers who were not really reaching the vast majority of students. Technology was not the means to salvation. In Cedar Rapids I continued the tradition of writing letters to the editor, this time to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Their length increased and for many years there was nearly one letter per month. Essentially all of my letters were published. I became a regular contributor to the Outlooks Columns of extended commentaries on current issues. Thereby I developed a style of writing pieces of about one page each; the subsequent form of my essays. At Coe in the late 1960's I served on a Summer Study Committee which lead to major changes in the college curriculum and calendar. Therein I saw some basic issues of faculty-student relationships which were not addressed openly and honestly, and was troubled by what I observed. In the early 1970's I sought to bring to Coe College a highly qualified physicist who came with high recommendations from one of the major leaders in the American Association of Physics Teachers. The college refused to hire her because she was regarded as unqualified. Soon she was teaching at Vassar College and later doing physics research in France, and later worked for a major computer firm. I recognized the importance of sex discrimination in the academic world, and saw that there was much foundation work to be done. In 1973 on my first sabbatical I created a computer language to facilitate the use of the IBM 1130 in laboratory instruction, visited about a dozen small college physics departments to see what was happening there, and wrote the first 250 of my collection of ESSAYS, and published them locally under the title "ATTRACTIVE SCIENTISTS" in honor of the woman who was seen as not qualified to teach physics at Coe College. In 1974 after some preliminary years of work in the caucus-convention process I suddenly became the Secretary of the Iowa Democratic Party for four years; playing a central role in party reform with special emphasis upon constitutional revisions, convention rules regarding parliamentary procedures, the nomination and election procedures for delegates, and reform of the Platform Procedure. I served on the National Platform Committee of the Democratic Party in 1976 and was a panelist on a focal workshop on platform procedures which was included in the 1978 Mid-Term Convention at my suggestion. For a decade I was the initiating secretary of most of the Committees on Rules and Nomination at the county, district, and state conventions I attended. I observed, suggested and recorded much of the transformation of the Iowa Democratic Party into a party which hosted the beginning of many Presidential Elections. I personally met most of the party's candidates for President of the United States. Con-current with my intense years of service in the Democratic Party I served as a member of the National Council of the American Association of Physics Teachers. I observed much, but found that it was impossible for me to initiate change among physics teachers with anywhere near the success rate that I was experiencing in the Democratic Party. I did, however, do a major coordinative editing job in the articulation of the AAPT standards for high schools, two year colleges, and four year colleges. I was not successful in prompting the development of such a document for graduate schools where the exclusive values and ideals of the physics community are taught in programs focused almost exclusively upon objective research. My essays lead to some close friendships with students at Coe, students whose insights further deepened my convictions that there were many critical issues which were carefully not being addressed by the academic world. As Coe upgraded its computing hardware I observed that the software which came with the hardware still did not meet the students in a user-friendly manner, and inadequate staff was provided to promote appropriate use of the hardware. I created, using the TECO programming language, a number of text editors to make student use of the computers easier. These projects helped me develop programming skills which were the foundation for my being able to write the computer programs for the ESSAYS System. In 1978 I attempted in a sabbatical to re-formulate my writings to be able to get some of them published. I learned it was an impossible task, given the nature of my writings and the nature of editorial constraints in the existing publications. I became increasingly aware of the importance of our affective lives, which are traditionally ignored systematically by the scientific community. In 1983 I spent a sabbatical as a visiting professor observing and participating in the life of both the Graduate Physics Department and the Graduate School of Science Education at the University of Iowa. I also went with national leaders of AAPT to physics departments of universities in both Russia and China, to observe their patterns of physics programs first hand. They were making progress towards our style of research-dominated graduate education. I made contacts which lead to my subsequently teaching astronomy classes during two summers at the University of Iowa, to being a lead teacher in some summer programs in Science Education, and to working as a consultant/programmer for COUNDUIT in relation to trying to help students transcend their physics pre-instruction conceptions and misconceptions. In China I made an initial contact with a Chinese physicist which has lead to extended communications over the years. I was impressed in Russia and China with their greater emphasis upon community values and ideals in contrast to the western emphasis upon individualistic freedoms to be irresponsively apart from the community; and with their violations of freedoms of communication in that emphasis. In the mid 1980's I became aware of the dynamics of addiction and codependence through personal encounter, and started to understand the role of addiction and codependence in my life as a child, parent, adult, teacher, physicist, religious leader, professional leader, and political leader. I also began to understand the possibilities of creating a computer based means of publishing essays for selective reading in the manner of the present ESSAYS System. It became clear that it would eventually be possible to optically scan the thousands of essays already typed on paper. Initial programming was done on personal computers at Coe. In the fall of 1987 my wife and I bought a computer on which I could develop the ESSAYS System in earnest. Composition of new essays shifted to direct entry onto computer disks. The computer has been upgraded twice. In 1989 I became a member of the Session of Central Park Presbyterian Church, Clerk of Session, and Commissioner to the East Iowa Presbytery of the United Presbyterian Church USA. In the spring of 1992 I served as a Commissioner to the National General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA and was successful in initiating an overture to move the church towards focusing more attention upon the role of addiction and codependence in the life of its members. In the summer of 1992 I formed the corporation ESSAYS Inc. to serve as the corporate entity to market my ESSAYS System. In the fall of 1992 at my initiative Central Park Church invited the newly formed PATCH Project to use an un-used room in the church as its main office in its pioneering effort to study the possibilities for de- categorization of human services; in the manner of the British pattern of localized human services in "patches", neighborhoods. I became a member of the projects Publicity Committee and of the PATCH Advisory Committee. During much of the above activities a major portion of my attention has been devoted to writing essays, editing them, and writing the many computer programs to make them available to the public. During all of the above time I have served as full-time professor of physics at Coe College. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================