Steve Terman

Steve Terman

Terman left New York and relocated to California, seeking warmer climate and receiving employment at the local teachers’ college. Soon afterwards he was appointed to Stanford’s education department and later its psychology department.

In the 1920s, he initiated a long-term study of geniuses to combat stereotypes of brainy children as frail oddballs who will always live alone. Though this longitudinal research had its flaws — as with any longitudinal study — it did offer valuable insights.

Early Life and Education

As an early professor of radio engineering at Stanford University, Terman had difficulty funding his new program. Publishing textbooks on electrical and radio engineering proved lucrative – they became standard references on these subjects.

Terman conducted a long-term study on gifted children with an IQ above 140. His results proved contrary to popular beliefs; instead they showed them not being weaklings but more successful and driven than their average peers.

His efforts led to the founding of Stanford Industrial Park and companies such as Eastman Kodak, Varian Associates and Hewlett-Packard moving there – creating the Silicon Valley region. However, these successes also strengthened his interest in eugenics – selective breeding to remove undesirable traits – by giving rise to his advocacy of selective breeding programs that focused on eliminating them in humans.

Professional Career

Steve Terman is a senior partner at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC and boasts extensive expertise in FDA medical device law, regulation and litigation. He has represented and advised over 300 small and large medical device corporations as well as banks, investment companies, venture capitalists and individuals involved with FDA matters.

He is well known for being both innovative and aggressive in his approach to legal proceedings, while being highly detailed-oriented with an in-depth knowledge of science related issues involved in his cases. Additionally, he is known as an ardent champion for his clients; frequently working late into the night and over weekends to give their cases every possible chance of success.

His and his wife Phyllis raised four children together, including Suzanne who is an artist; Damien who is a composer and performer based out of Paris; and Julian who became a physician practicing medicine in Maine.

Achievement and Honors

As one of the pioneers in psychological testing and gifted child studies, Terman made significant contributions. However, his intelligence tests and differential educational system unintentionally dehumanized people of color, lower class individuals, and women.

After World War II, he modified army intelligence tests for school-age children and became one of the leading advocates of mass testing to classify pupils into similar ability groups. However, this idea was challenged in 1940 by University of Iowa psychologist George D. Stoddard’s research demonstrating how environmental stimulation played an essential part in mental growth as measured by increasing IQ scores.

He published several papers and made frequent presentations at trade and academic conferences. Additionally, he held multiple patents, founded and served as president of Azore Cancer Therapeutic Company (AZORE).

Personal Life

Steve is an aggressive trial and appellate attorney, taking an individual approach to each case he handles. Often working late into the night and on weekends to assist his clients in meeting their challenges. Steve’s practice specializes in complex business and trusts & estates litigation matters.

Once he recovered from tuberculosis, he became an influential leader of the American mental testing movement. Refining Alfred Binet’s 1905 and 1908 intelligence tests, as well as working with others on developing the Stanford-Binet test by 1916.

He was an influential member of a large network of eugenicists, advocating selective breeding and restricting immigration into the United States. Additionally, he participated in debates surrounding nature-nurture debates; unfortunately his attempts at resolution proved futile. Additionally, he championed hereditary intelligence as a means for creating a more meritocratic society.

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