Tam has written 13 science books for children, including six with Sally Ride. They received the American Institute of Physics Children's Science Writing Award in 1995 for The Third Planet. In 2015 Tam published Sally Ride: A Photobiography of America's Pioneering Woman in Space. It was nominated for the 2016 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature.
As a scientist and educator, Tam became concerned about the underrepresentation of women in science and technical professions. In 2001, Sally, Tam, and three friends—Karen Flammer, Terry McEntee, and Alann Lopes—founded Sally Ride Science to try to narrow the gender gap in science. Tam served as the company's chief creative officer, guiding creation of the Cool Careers in STEM and Key Concepts in Science programs. She was also chief operating officer from 2009 to 2013, chair of the Board of Directors from 2013 to 2015, and chief executive officer from 2014 to 2015.
The University of California, San Diego, acquired Sally Ride Science in October 2015 and named Tam executive director of the resulting nonprofit organization. Tam also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Edward founded the University of California STEAM Channel. He is active in the San Diego community as a trustee of the San Diego Youth Symphony and a founding board member of the San Diego Urban Discovery Academy charter school. He is deeply involved in programs serving foster youth and veterans, and other youth development programs.
A specialist in gifted education; arts integration; and the socio-affective domain, Appel teaches a variety of courses at both UC San Diego and UC Irvine. He is a widely published author and presenter at conferences and other venues. Appel lives in San Diego, California, with his wife Catherine and their dog Jonathan Fitzgerald.