From Child to Adulthood

Junior Electronics Fact Sheets

"... this is a master piece..." commented one of the visitors to this site about the 'Fact Sheet' project. So we may well ask: WHO IS THE AUTHOR?

A 'micro' biography

What do many of our world's inventors, artists and innovators have in common?

Simple! They start early in life. In fact, often is it the discovery early in life of at least one area that corresponds most strongly with the child's natural inclinations and aptitudes that leads to a productive and fulfilling life in adulthood. Not every child is so lucky and for some it is a chance encounter that leads to success later in life. Such a case is illustrated in the following.

I grew up in emotional isolation, without parental involvement, without intellectual stimulation. From early in life I was told that I was a hopeless case and, without anyone to intervene, I believed it. I still remember the frustrated outbursts: "What in the world is to become of HIM?", implying that someone as stupid as me would have little chance ever to become a success in life.

I must confess not really believing in things such as 'fate', or 'destiny'. But to this day it seems like a miracle how from an unknown source a certain physics book came into my hands when I was ten years old. I was not a brilliant scholar, however, apart from languages I was good at physics. No wonder that most of the material in that book I already knew - until the last chapter: "An apparatus to make audible the electromagnetic waves from the air".

This article electrified me into action. For the following couple of weeks I wound coils, collected bits and pieces and improvised a lot. I had to melt sulphur and lead in a test tube to make myself a crystal. A somewhat damaged pair of head phones I was able to fix and, with the last wire in place, I experienced my first and most unforgettable success in life: I heard music and words coming out of my head phones. I had made "audible the electromagnetic waves from the air". I had found my purpose in life and with the pride of a ten year old I presented my mastery of those wonderful words to the world: "demodulation, high frequency, inductors..." At that time, however, I had no idea that this book had become one of the most influential sign posts in determining my future career and, indeed, my whole life.

Two years later I fixed other people's radios and built gadgets of ever increasing complexity. After school I studied music and composition which was disrupted by world war two and for the last year of the war I was a radio operator. Years later I immigrated to Australia. With my musical and technical knowledge, and some theatrical experience thrown in, I was accepted as a technical operator/producer in the radio and television service of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. This position I held for 25 years.

Certain events lead to my rather early retirement in 1980 and, with it, a new mission emerged: I studied and qualified in some psychotherapeutic disciplines and, with my childhood experiences in mind, for around 20 years now I have been devoting myself to counselling, to the personality development - and introduction into science and technology - of children.

The original 'Fact Sheets' have been the result of working regularly with a small group of children, the "Electronics Club for Kids", over the years. The introduction to them of one particular aspect of this technology at a time has been so successful that from those original pages the concept of "Junior Electronic Fact Sheets" has been developed and is still continuing. There has been a positive response to the concept from many parts of the world.

Peter Horst Schmedding.

Canberra Australia.

April 1999

A school group in action

Above: Peter teaching a school group (October 2002)

Peter with one of his students

Peter with one of his students

Some of the principles behind this approach of learning are dealt with in the article: Teaching Science.

Go to electronics index page - Peter's brief resume - Return to editor's home page

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This page has been updated 14 October 2003