PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: James Wilson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMay 15, 1996
JPL EDUCATOR WINS ROLEX AWARD FOR STUDENT-RUN TELESCOPE PROGRAM
Gilbert A. Clark, an engineer and staff member of the
Educational Affairs Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
has been selected as a 1996 Rolex Laureate in Applied Science and
Invention for developing and managing a collaborative program --
called "Telescopes In Education" -- with the Mount Wilson
Institute in Pasadena, Calif.
Clark was named Rolex Laureate in a ceremony conducted today
in Geneva, Switzerland.
Telescopes in Education (TIE) puts a research-quality
telescope at the fingertips of students who use a school computer
and telephone lines to aim the telescope, take and receive
digital pictures, and use the computer in class to enhance the
images for study and reporting.
"What we wanted to do was to hook students on science and
learning through the experience of astronomy, letting them use
math, writing and computer skills in a real project," said Clark,
a veteran Scoutmaster and adult education teacher.
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise have been presented by
Montres Rolex S.A. of Geneva every three years since 1976 to
individuals who conceive and develop an original concept and,
with tenacity and dedication, turn it into reality. Awardees at
the laureate level are granted $50,000 for their projects. Clark
is one of five 1996 laureates.
"We are proud to be able to play a part in the laudable
projects of these admirable men and women," said Andre J.
Heiniger, chairman of Montres Rolex, "and we sincerely believe
their fascinating work will help spread the spirit of enterprise
around the world."
The TIE project began in 1992 as a volunteer effort
augmented by donations and loans. More than 100 schools have
become regular users of the system, with about 100 more casual
"TIE regularly puts the process of scientific discovery into
all kinds of classrooms from Eastern prep schools to the inner
city of Los Angeles," said JPL Educational Affairs Manager Dr.
Fredrick Shair. "We are proud to be part of an activity that is
so spontaneous and successful."
The project hopes to add more telescopes with the
cooperation of observatories in different locations around the
world, if additional support can be obtained.
The first telescope, a 60-centimeter (24-inch) instrument
now at Mount Wilson was loaned by the California Institute of
Technology and refurbished, installed, equipped for remote-
control operation and fitted with a loaned CCD electronic camera
chip and remote-control software through the generosity of
industry and the Mount Wilson Institute. Support for student
operations is provided through grants from NASA's Offices of
Space Science and Aeronautics, Washington, D.C.
Additional information on the Telescopes in Education
program can be obtained from the World Wide Web at: