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DR. CARL SAGAN NAMED FIRST WINNER OF NEW PRIZE FOR EDUCATION IN ASTRONOMY, THE AAS ANNENBERG FOUNDATION AWARD

 DR. CARL SAGAN NAMED FIRST WINNER OF NEW PRIZE
 FOR EDUCATION IN ASTRONOMY, THE AAS ANNENBERG FOUNDATION AWARD
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Astronomical Society (AAS) announces the establishment of the AAS Annenberg Foundation Award for leadership in education in astronomy, and the first award of the prize, to Professor Carl Sagan of Cornell University. The $2,500 award is funded by The Annenberg Foundation of St. Davids, Pa. This is the first time in the history of the society of professional research astronomers that a prize has been awarded for contributions to education rather than for specific scientific research. The society believes that education in astronomy for people of all ages will improve scientific awareness in the United States and other nations.
 The purpose of the new prize is to recognize leadership and distinction in any of the following as they apply to education in astronomy:
 -- Developing innovative curricula or educational materials for elementary or secondary schools, colleges or universities.
 -- Organizing programs to train and support school teachers.
 -- Writing for students or for the general public.
 -- Contributions to education and public awareness through museum or planetarium programs and exhibits or through the mass media.
 "The American Astronomical Society believes that scientific leadership begins with the inspiration and education of children and that it requires public understanding," said AAS President Dr. John Bahcall, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. "The AAS Annenberg Foundation Award will recognize those who reach the curious of all ages through astronomy," Dr. Bahcall added.
 "Carl Sagan may have reached more persons than any other astronomer, through his superb television series, 'Cosmos,' his writings for Parade magazine and other mass-circulation publications, his books for the general reader, and his lectures that enthrall students and other listeners of all ages," Dr. Bahcall noted. And, "Dr. Sagan's talks and writings bring the universe into the classroom and the home, and relate the evolution of the stars and the exploration of the solar system to life on Earth."
 The Annenberg Foundation is the successor corporation to the Annenberg School at Radnor, Pa., established in 1958 by Walter H. Annenberg. Its grantmaking is intended to encourage the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.
 Dr. Mary Ann Meyers, president of the foundation, called the new prize for education in astronomy: "A means of recognizing the value to society of efforts to expand scientific awareness. We join gladly with the AAS," she said, "to honor teachers who help us see beyond the stars by bringing invisible realms into our consciousness."
 Dr. Sagan, 57, is the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Science and the director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He has been a leader in the Mariner, Viking and Voyager expeditions to the planets and has made major contributions to the knowledge of planetary atmospheres and surfaces. Many of the current leaders in planetary astronomy are his former students. Dr. Sagan will receive the AAS Annenberg Foundation Award at the 181st AAS meeting, in Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 3-7, 1993, where he will address the society.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Dr. Steve Maran of the AAS press officer, 301-286-8607/ CO: American Astronomical Society ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


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