Announcing the John C. Lahr
Educational Seismology Fund

The Lahr family and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) are pleased to announce the establishment of a fund to support Seismographs in Schools (SIS), within the IRIS Education and Outreach program.  In the last several years of his life, John Lahr became very involved in supporting this program.  It was the perfect opportunity for him to use his knowledge and skills in teaching workshops, traveling to schools throughout the country, supporting teachers, and helping to develop equipment and software.  John felt strongly that the earth sciences are being seriously neglected in the U.S. educational system, and he was pleased to be a part of a program that is working to correct the problem. 


The John C. Lahr Educational Seismology Fund will provide funding toward seismographs and teacher training through the SIS program.  Schools and teachers that receive equipment and training through the fund will be expected to show how they will actively incorporate the seismograph into the classroom.  Currently, the cost of a seismograph is about $600, and the cost of teacher training is about $950.  At present, these services are provided by IRIS through National Science Foundation funding at no cost to schools or teachers, though it is likely this will change in the future.  The fund could then be available to provide scholarships.  By providing additional resources for the SIS program, the hope is that the fund will enable the program to expand to serve more schools throughout the country.  Seismographs that are paid for by the fund will have Johnís name on them in tribute to him. 


John truly loved working with the Seismographs in Schools program, and he would be honored to know that friends, family, colleagues, and others will be supporting the program through a fund in his name.  Please consider making a donation in John Lahrís memory. 


Checks should be made payable to IRIS, Reference John C. Lahr Seismology Fund, and mailed to IRIS, 1200 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC  20005.  Donors will receive a confirmation letter, identifying their tax-deductible contribution.

For more information about SIS go to:


From the IRIS Seismographs in Schools website:

About the Program

IRISís Seismographs in Schools Program serves teachers across the country and around the world using seismic instruments or real-time seismic data in K-16 classrooms. Additionally, our site includes tools to share seismic data in real-time, classroom activities, and technical support documents for seismic instruments. Our hope is to bridge the gap between science classrooms to create an international educational seismic network.

What Educational Seismology has to offer

One of the most exciting moments after installing a new seismic station in a high school classroom is recording an earthquake. Students leave their desks; teachers stop mid-sentence, as if the classroom beneath their feet were shaking! Earthquakes are a fascinating, powerful, and uncontrollable force that capture the attention of people young and old, and naturally lend themselves to engaging students in the classroom.

National Science Education Standards

Seismology offers unique opportunities to enrich earth science and physics curriculum. Beyond the specific content standards in earth science such as structure of the earth system, energy in the earth system and earth history, the national science education standards emphasize content standards in areas such as science and technology, science in personal and social perspectives, and the history and nature of science, all of which can be addressed with earthquake studies.

The most engaging method to teach earth science is to involve students in questioning and problem solving. A seismometer in the classroom raises awareness of earthquake activity around the world and promotes student questions about earthquake location and frequency of events. At the 7-12th grade levels, real-time seismic data can be used to explore earthquakes, plate tectonics and its driving forces. In physics classrooms seismic data can be used to teach lessons on force, friction, wave propagation, and engineering design.