|The Carl Sagan Foundation|
Dear Fellow Member of the SETI Community,
I'm proud to be communicating with you via the planet-wide SETI@home networkwhich unites three million people of 226 nations in a community of wonder, using clean high technology to do good science while engagin multitudes in a quest that before was only open to the privileged few. This seems especially fitting because that's what my late husband and collaborator, Carl Sagan's life was all about. I'm contacting you to ask for your support for a project which, I believe, embodies those same values.
The Carl Sagan Foundation has chosen as its inaugural project, to build The Carl Sagan Discovery Center at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. Our partner in this project is The Children's Health Fund, a non-profit organization that is second only to the federal government in providing health care to the under-served children of the United States. When completed next fall, it will not only be the first pediatric hospital to be built in the Bronx, but, also, the first children's hospital anywhere that incorporates the consciousness made possible by science into both its design and its program of family-centered care. Perhaps, most significantly, no child residing in the area the hospital serves will be turned away for lack of funds or insurance.
For the past two years, I have been working with Irwin Redlener, MD, longtime friend of mine and Carl's and president of the new Children's Hospital -- as well as some of our country's esteemed scientists, scienece educators and artists to design a place that conveys something of the great story of cosmic evolution.
Our decor feature will, I think, serve to illustrate our philosophy. The hospital has been built on the highest elevation in the Greater New York City Area. Most of the patient rooms will have spectacular views of the surrounding topography; the Palisades of New Jersey, the Hudson and East Rivers and more. When the shade is pulled down over the big picture windows, you will see the exact same view as it would have looked a hundred million years ago...
Rendered by Luis Blanc. Courtesy of the Rockwell Group.
The Sagan Center will be integrated throughout the hospital -- from the lobby and patient rooms, to the information technologies. Every bed will have a computer and a 42" high-definition wall-mounted flat screen monitor. Bonds have been forged with local scientific institutions to bring inspired teachers as well as permanent staff to show the kids and the families the ropes of exploration. We don't envision this hospital as a worshipful temple of science or technology -- but rather a place that communicates the wonder of the glorious continuity revealed by science and opens new pathways for the people it will serve.
As you probably know, Carl died four years ago after waging a courageous battle for his life that included three harrowing bone marrow transplants. During those two years I do not recall him complaining once. However, there were many times when it troubled him that he was getting the best medical treatment on Earth by virtue of his renown. (Many members of the medical staff remarked that it was something he wrote or said that had inspired them to pursue a scientific career. Carl thought of all people who had life-threatening diseases who would be denied the care he was recieving and he wrote:
|"When I realize what extraordinary health care I have recieved in these many months of illness, I know what is possible. When I think of how many children do not have access to even the most basic of health services, it breaks my heart."|
Carl's forty year campaign for public science of education was rooted in his dream of a wise and just society. Before anyone else, he recognized that a society wholly dependent on science and high technology could not hope to become a democracy if only a fortunate few possess the secrets of science's methods, laws and language. There are 400,000 children in the Bronx, a place both medicaly and educationally under-served. I hope you will join me in this ground-breaking initiative thar promises to not only positively impact the lives of so many families, but to create a tribute to Carl that honors his life by continuing his work.
Ann Druyan, President
The Carl Sagan Foundation
P.O. Box 4864
Ithaca, NY 14852-4864
The Carl Sagan Foundation is a non-profit organization with 501c3 status which means that for those of you paying taxes in the U.S., the contribution will be tax deductible.