The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) was established by Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles in 1999 to bring about a greater understanding of science and mathematics in the United States through improved teaching and learning.
The inspiration for the Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles Foundation (which was doing business as the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, before becoming the Knowles Teacher Initiative in 2017) dates back to 1968, when Mr. C. Harry Knowles founded Metrologic Instruments, Inc. Metrologic became a leader in advanced bar code scanners and a pioneering force in the data capture industry, eventually registering more than 600 patents; Harry is named as the inventor or co-inventor on 388 of those patents. In addition, Harry is named as the principal inventor on 12 patents from his days in the solid state device technical arena, including the 2N2222 (Star Transistor, a device still being produced by the billions every day), and the Mesa Transistor (the key component in virtually all computers produced worldwide in the early 1960s). While looking for talent to employ at Metrologic Instruments, Mr. Knowles noticed a lack of high-quality science and mathematics training among young engineering recruits. This experience spurred his commitment to supporting science and mathematics education.
Mr. C. Harry Knowles and Mrs. Janet H. Knowles established themselves as philanthropists committed to education beginning in 1985, when Metrologic offered financial support to the American Association of Physics Teachers for the creation of PhysicsBowl, a national contest for high school students. Part of this financial support included providing a free laser to the highest scoring school in each region. In 1999, they established the Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles Foundation based on a strong belief that America’s well-being and economic future hinges on bringing new scientists and mathematicians into the workforce. They also wanted to recognize the teachers who helped to shape their lives. Their goal was, and still is, to increase the quantity of high-quality high school science and mathematics teachers in the United States.