OSA Foundation to Donate Hundreds of Telescopes to Milwaukee Students Through Galileoscope Challenge



Angela Stark
The Optical Society
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OSA Foundation to Donate Hundreds of Telescopes to Milwaukee Students Through Galileoscope Challenge

New Program Will Educate Students about Science, Optics and Astronomy

WASHINGTON, April 23The OSA Foundation announced today the launch of a new program to donate hundreds of telescopes to students in the Milwaukee area, while educating them about science, optics and astronomy. The OSA Foundation, through a partnership with the Institute for the Transformation of Learning and a grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, will donate nearly 500 “Galileoscopes” as well as books and DVDs about Galileo Galilei and astronomy to six local middle, junior high and high schools as part of its program called the Galileoscope Challenge.

The Galileoscope is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers and science educators. The easy-to-assemble telescope has a 50-mm (2-inch) diameter, 25- to 50-power achromatic refractor, allowing students to gaze at the celestial wonders that Galileo Galilei first glimpsed 400 years ago.

The Galileoscope Challenge aims to distribute these scopes to students around the world, particularly those who are underserved. As part of this program, Optical Society (OSA) members Carlos Lopez-Mariscal, a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Yasaman Soudagar, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, will be traveling to Milwaukee next week to educate the students receiving the scopes.

Lopez-Mariscal and Soudagar will teach the students about Galileo, optics and the Galileoscopes. Students will be able to keep the Galileoscopes, along with a local star-chart of their area so they can stargaze from home.

“The Galileoscope Challenge is a way for students to not only view marvels such as Saturn’s rings and the four moons circling Jupiter, but it is also a way to get them excited about optics,” said Meredith Smith, OSA Foundation director. “This program could very well influence who becomes our next generation of scientists.”

The participating Milwaukee-area schools will be the Believers In Christ Christian Academy, the Milwaukee Renaissance Academy, the CEO Leadership Academy, the Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy, King’s Academy Christian School, and the Darrell Lynn Hines Preparatory Academy of Excellence. The OSA Foundation hopes to expand the Galileoscope Challenge into an after-school and summer program, as well as repeat it at other schools during the year.

To learn more about the Galileoscope Challenge go to www.osa-foundation.org.

About the OSA Foundation
The OSA Foundation (OSAF) was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the Optical Society 's (OSA) mission by concentrating its efforts on programs that advance youth science education, provide optics and photonics education to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources and support awards & honors that recognize technical and business excellence. The grants funded by the OSA Foundation are made possible by the generous donations of its supporters as well as the dollar-for-dollar match by OSA. The Foundation is exempt from U.S. federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a public charity. To learn more about the OSA Foundation, please visit www.osa-foundation.org.

About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation is a family of more than 1,000 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the local charitable causes of their choice. Grants from these funds serve people throughout Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, across the country and around the world. Started in 1915, the Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the world.