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James Randi Educational Foundation

Educational Awards for 1999

The James Randi Educational Foundation is dedicated to education that enhances critical thinking and the understanding of science. At the close of the 1998-99 academic year, the James Randi Educational Foundation made several awards to students and educators for their outstanding work to promote a culture of rational and critical thinking.

We are pleased to make the following awards:

Richard Friedman, science teacher, South Plantation High School, Plantation, Florida. $1000 for on-going efforts to teach critical thinking/creative problem solving skills at the high school level. "The ability to think critically is what separates the scholar from the mediocre mind," says Mr. Friedman, "I want to produce a generation of thinkers, questioners, skeptics and inner-directed problem solvers."

Dr. Michael Epstein, Department of Science, Mount Saint Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland. $1000 for the creative use of the examination of "bad science"--from misguided science to pseudoscience to outright scientific fraud--as a means of understanding the scope and practice of "good science" in introductory college chemistry. Dr. Epstein's work led to the publication of the paper "Using Bad Science To Teach Good Chemistry" in the Journal of Chemical Education (Vol. 75, No. 11, November 1998).

Maggie Czarnogorski, Leslie Lousteau, Irena Politzer, Emma Salustro, students at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. $1000 (shared) for a collaborative project in Biology 362, "Shaping National Science Policy," taught by Professor Francis Slakey. The class project, entitled "Dietary Supplements: The Seven Billion Dollar Scam," outlined the legislative and consumer issues associated with the dietary supplement industry, including the notorious "Vitamin O" incident in which two companies were selling salt water for $10 an ounce. The project was more than a passive term paper; the students developed and carried out a plan to actively communicate their views to Congress and the public.

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