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Sciencenter Honors Scientists and Donors on the Wall of Inspiration

View the Wall of Inspiration plaques

Wall of Inspiration

What do Aristotle, Hans Bethe, Carl Sagan, Maria Montessori and Frank Dukepoo have in common? All are members of the Sciencenter's Wall of Inspiration, a permanent exhibit that is part of the museum's new addition.

The Wall of Inspiration honors more than 100 scientists with educational plaques in the Community Room.

"The Sciencenter was looking for a unique way to thank donors to the museum’s capital campaign while fulfilling the museum's mission to excite visitors about science," said Charlie Trautmann, Sciencenter executive director. "The Wall of Inspiration is a great way to do both."

Donors to the museum's capital campaign were asked to nominate a scientist for the display.

Many selections were made based on similar interests, such as the Ithaca Garden Club, which chose John Bartram, a botanist and farmer who founded America's oldest surviving botanical garden.

Other selections were chosen based on family history or personal experiences. Tyko Kihlstedt selected Agricola, a geologist and the founder of modern mining, to honor his father who was a geologist.

Wall of Inspiration

Corporations often chose a scientist related to the business’ field of work. Cargill Salt chose Lucie Bolton, an Ithacan that worked at Cayuga Rock Salt and managed the business for decades, and The Ithaca Journal/Gannett Foundation nominated Johann Gutenberg, inventor of movable type and the printing press. Stone Travel picked Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.

Each plaque includes the name of the scientist, a description of his or her achievements, a photo, a quote and a dedication from the donor.

Some scientists are well-known historical figures such as Albert Einstein.Others are not as well known such as Grace Murray Hopper, who was a mathematics genius and the first woman to attain the rank of Admiral in the U.S. Navy, or David Blackwell, the first African American elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Some nominees lived centuries ago, while others are living today.