Portrait of Nikola Tesla

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe
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Friends of Science East Newsletter

Pursuing the Dream

Volume I, No. 1 (Summer 1998)

Table of Contents

Short History of Friends of Science East
Recent Programs Presented
FSE Sponsors Passive Park in Rocky Point
Past Sponsorships and Future Plans
President's Message
FSE Cups and T-Shirts

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A Short History of Friends of Science East, Inc.

Friends of Science East, Inc. was born two years ago on February 14, 1996. At that time, the official New York State approvals were filed making FSE, Inc. a not-for-profit corporation in the state. Federal tax exempt status was also obtained as of tbis date. The genesis of this event occurred approximately one year earlier.

The Science Museum housed in the Shoreham-Wading River High School was experiencing growth pains—not enough space to incorporate all of the activities, programs and exhibits that were becoming increasingly popular. The museum had been through a review that indicated it was in the museum's and its visitors' interests to expand in a moderate fashion.

The school district did not have any additional space to lend, and members of the museum board began to ask if finding a larger space off the school campus might be a good idea.

For several years, Science Museum board members had been interested in the land known as the "Peerless Property," for its former owners, Peerless Photo Products, which had been bought byAgfa, a division of the Bayer Corporation. The property had been owned at the turn of the century by inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla.

Tesla Laboratory at Wardenclyffe

Tesla had built a laboratory there in 1901 called Wardenclyffe, designed by the renowned architect, Stanford White. He also had White design a huge tower to be used for the transmission of signals world wide. The tower was destroyed in 1917, but the original laboratory building still stands, along with several others which were added by subsequent owners. This seemed an interesting, if not ideal, site for a future science museum.

The Science Museum board decided to create an offshoot organization to pursue the acquisition of the Tesla property, and the Friends of Science East, Inc. came into being.

Since that beginning, FSE, Inc. has had several meetings with representatives from Agfa, Brookhaven Town, Suffolk County, New York State, Shoreham Village and various fraternal, civic and business organizations locally; has begun legal affiliation with the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc., a group dedicated to the preservation of Wardenclyffe, and other Tesla-related organizations; and has set in motion the actions which, it is hoped, will result in the Tesla property becoming the future home of the Tesla Museum and Science Center at Wardenclyffe.

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Recent programs presented

Friends of Science East, Inc. has been busy setting up programs for its members and the general public. Of recent note, in collaboration with the Vail-Leavitt Mini Ciné, FSE held two Science Fiction Film Nights.

The Vail-Leavitt Mini Ciné is an historic theatre in Riverhead town, the site of turn-of-the-century entertainment, and the current site of a small movie theatre. It is operated by a not-for-profit organization which is trying to restore the old building and its upstairs theatre and auditorium.

On Tuesday, July 14, visitors to the Mini Ciné were able to enjoy the double feature STARGATE and TRON. Tuesday, July 21 followed up with the H.G. Wells classic films, WAR OF THE WORLDS and THE TIME MACHINE .

Younger audiences can look forward to the Fall, when Dr. Quinton Quark will be appearing on stage to present his hilarious introduction to the science of physics called "Much Work With Little Effort." Dr. Quark, a former science teacher and Ringling Brothers clown, combines his two passions in a show with action and humor, while the audience gets to participate, laugh and learn at the same time. Mark your calendar now for Dr. Quark's appearance on October 3 for a performance of energy and fun. Ticket information and reservations will be available in September.

FSE's future plans include additional Science Fiction Film Nights and other lecture series.

Suggestions and requests for particular types of programs are welcomed by the FSE Board. Please address your requests to P.O. Box 552, Shoreham, NY 11786 or call us at (516) 744-0010.

(See also passive park and past sponsorships and future plans below).

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FSE sponsors passive park in RP

FSE, Inc. was approached by the Rocky Point Revitalization and Beautification Committee about taking on the development of a nature trail in a portion of a new 87-acre community park carved out of the former RCA property preserve by a road bypass construction project.

The 500-fool trail will wind through a segment of the park which is a remnant of the oak and hickory forests that used to cover the entire eastern seaboard from Maine to Georgia. A self-guided tour pamphlet is being developed that will teach about the flora and fauna in the forest, and will give trail walkers a chance to test their newly earned knowledge in a fun way.

Many people contributed to this project. Trail clearing and marking is being done as an Eagle Scout project led by Andrew Jones of Miller Place. Natalie Stiefel of the Rocky Point Historical Society provided historical background, and two Shoreham residents, Karen Blumer and Judy Trueman, are helping with the identification of significant features on the trail and developing the pamphlet.

FSE is very excited about the project and encourages all to visit and walk the trail after it is officially opened in September.

(See also recent programs above and past sponsorships and future plans below).

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Pursuing the Dream—Past and Future

FSE, Inc. has sponsored:

  • A lecture series on the life, times and work of Nikola Tesla featuring:
    • Marc J. Seifer, Tesla biographer
    • Jim Hardesty, historic science equipment builder and demonstrator
    • James Corum, Ph.D. and Kenneth Corum, science researchers
  • Science Night at Rocky Point McDonald's
  • Science Fiction Film Nights at Vail-Leavitt Mini Ciné
  • Exhibits of the life and work of Nikola Tesla at
    • North Shore Public Library
    • Longwood Library
  • Contributions of material to the Museums at Stony Brook exhibit on Stanford White
  • Assistance to the Tesla-Wardenclyffe Project in the acquisition of Tesla memorabilia
  • Rocky Point Passive Park nature trail

FSE, Inc. future plans include:

  • Dr. Quinton Quark—"Much Work With Little Effort"
  • Additional lecture series and other presentations
  • Acquisition of the Tesla property for the creation of the Tesla Museum and Science Center at Wardenclyffe

Please join us and help to make the dream come true.

(See also recent programs and passive park above).

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A Message from the President

By Carol Davis-Wiebelt

Welcome to the first edition of "Pursuing the Dream," the quarterly newsletter of Friends of Science East, Inc. We are using this phrase because our vision of developing a regional science center is far-reaching and when realized, will be a dream come true.

As seen elsewhere in this newsletter, FSE is dedicated to enhancing science education for children and adults through a variety of venues. It is important that people be aware of the role of science in our lives and learn that science education can be fun.

Our major goal is the development of a regional science center and museum which we hope to create at the former Peerless Photo site in Shoreham. The Peerless site is our ideal because it presents unique opportunities: it contains the historically significant Tesla laboratory, Wardenclyffe; it has other buildings that can house a variety of uses which can complement a science center; and it has a park-like setting that holds the potential for a physics playground and may meet community needs for open space.

We have been joined in this dream by the Tesla Wardenclyffe Project, Inc., which has already acquired Tesla memorabilia, and will continue to do so for inclusion in a permanent Tesla museum and archive component of the science center.

We have undertaken a great task, the goal of which is attainable, and will bring many rewards to all who are interested in science and science education.

We invite you all to join us in the pursuit of this dream. We are looking for people with talents and skills to bring this dream into reality.

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Drink with us and wear us out!

FSE designer logo of Tesla tower

Friends of Science East, Inc. has T-shirts and cups with its designer logo of the Tesla Tower available for purchase. These white cotton shirts are emblazoned with a teal logo, and the teal-colored plastic cups have the logo in black. Show your support of FSE, Inc. by wearing our T-shirt. Buy a set of cups for summertime drinks! Shirts are available in adult sizes S-M-L for $10 each. Cups are just $1 each!
Send your order to:

Friends of Science East, Inc.
P.O. Box 552
Shoreham, NY 11786

Please enclose a check to cover the cost of items plus $1 for shipping. Don't forget to include your name and address and specify a shirt size.

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