14050 1st Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98125
Computer interfacing has interested me
since 1982, when I obtained my first Apple II computer. Those
simple computers were capable of amazing feats -- they made interfacing
possible and affordable. While attending a 1983 Woodrow Wilson
National Fellowship Summer Institute for Chemistry, I was encouraged
to develop computer interfacing applications and software by my
fellow participants. One of the computer programs I introduced
was designed to analyze, graph, and report laboratory data. As
time progressed, the programs grew more capable, and students
were able to have the computer assist them as electronic lab partners.
The computer could:
- collect data over very short or very long time spans,
- mathematically treat the measured data
- graphically represent the data
- provide instant feedback to students on their experimental
As a result, the company MasterComp came into being. While teaching
full time, I designed, manufactured, and distributed interfacing
hardware and software, and also wrote and distributed a laboratory
manual of chemistry and physics experiments which made use of
The laboratory data analysis software, now called Lab Partner,
became so favorably accepted that Glencoe/McGraw Hill is currently
distributing it as an integral component of their middle and high
school science programs.
In 1991 my school was using Vernier's computer interfacing equipment
with great success, and the folks at Vernier were serious about
making high quality probes and sensors specifically for the biology
laboratory. I set to work designing a variety of lab experiences
that were significantly enhanced by using computer interfacing.
Subsequently, Vernier asked me to author a book of laboratory
experiments in biology. That book, entitled Biology with Computers,
will be available in the summer of 19 9 6.
In this exchange, I will share with you many of the experiences
and hard-earned lessons I've learned and open a dialog among all
of us -- novices and experienced practitioners alike. This avenue
of communicating is extraordinary and powerful. Our students will
surely reap the benefits as we learn from each other.