SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Aided by an $80,000 grant from Verizon Communications, the Arecibo Observatory will enhance its education program so that students from public and private schools throughout Puerto Rico can tour the observatory, talk with scientists and learn about the wonders of the universe.
The observatory, which operates the largest radio-radar telescope in the world, is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, a national research center operated by Cornell University in New York State under contract with the National Science Foundation. The giant Arecibo telescope has been at the forefront of the development of the science of radio astronomy for many years. The observatory is also the only science museum in Puerto Rico.
Fares Salloum, Verizon president-International, the Americas, and Jon Slater, president and CEO of Puerto Rico Telephone (PRT), a Verizon affiliate, presented a check to representatives of Cornell University at a ceremony today at PRT's board of directors meeting. Funds for the grant are provided by the Verizon Foundation.
''Education programs like the one at the Arecibo Observatory make a lasting impression on children and have the potential to encourage them to pursue careers in science,'' Salloum said.
''This grant is a key part of Verizon's international philanthropy program, which supports a variety of education and economic initiatives that will directly benefit the global communities served by Verizon and its affiliates.''
Daniel R. Altschuler, director of the Arecibo Observatory, said, ''Children are our future. Through the generosity of Verizon, many students and teachers will be able to visit the world's largest radio-radar telescope at Arecibo and participate in a structured program to learn how scientists are probing deeply into space to uncover the mysteries of the universe.
''Field trips to the facility will enable teachers to bring real excitement to their classroom studies of the solar system and the universe. This gift from Verizon will help us to offer the children of Puerto Rico an inspiring visit,'' Altschuler said.
The observatory's enhanced education program will enable more than 20,000 students - from kindergarten through high school - to visit the observatory and tour its Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center each year.
The center is filled with a variety of interactive multimedia exhibits about the universe that rival those in major science museums. Student visits will be conducted Wednesday through Friday mornings, when the observatory is closed to the public.
Verizon's grant will pay for all the education program's literature and educational materials, to be printed in both English and Spanish, and for the salary of an administrative coordinator.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.