"It is hard to predict where the seed of enthusiasm will spread," Levy told Astronomy
. "Inspiration in one science, like astronomy, can lead to a passion for another science."
The foundation grew from concerns that the United States is lagging behind other countries in science and engineering education. Recent data from the National Academy of Sciences shows U.S. high school seniors scored below average in a test of general knowledge in mathematics and science given to students in 21 countries.
The foundation is partnering with Meade Instruments and campuses in the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and Cortland. They plan to place a Meade 14-inch telescope at Plattsburgh's remote location near Lewis, New York home of the annual Adirondack Astronomy Retreat
. Meade will also give away telescopes to many schools involved with the foundation.