Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Carnegie Institution of Washington
The Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) is a foundation established by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 to support scientific research. Its first president was Daniel Coit Gilman, founder of Johns Hopkins Medical School. Today the CIW supports science in six main areas: plant biology, developmental biology, global ecology, earth and planetary sciences, and astronomy (through the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (OCIW)).
One of the Instition's first grant recipients was George Hale in 1904. Hale needed backing for the construction of a telescope built around a large mirror blank that he had received as a gift from his father. The OCIW funded the completion of the 60-inch Hale Telescope on Mount Wilson, in the San Gabriel Mountains above Pasadena, California. Immediately work began on designing the even larger Hooker Telescope (100-inch), completed in 1917. Two solar telescopes were also constructed with Carnegie support and together they form the Mount Wilson Observatory, still chiefly supported by the Carnegie Institution after 100 years. The OCIW went on to help Hale design and build the 200-inch telescope of the Palomar Observatory (construction was mostly paid for by a Rockefeller grant). The OCIW's chief observatory is now the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, where two identical 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes operate. OCIW is the lead institution in the consortium building the Giant Magellan Telescope, which will be made up seven mirrors each 8.4 meters in diameter for a total telescope diameter of 25.4 metres (83 feet). The telescope is expected to have over four times the light-gathering ability of existing instruments.
In 1920 the Eugenics Record Office in Cold Spring Harbor, New York was merged with the Station for Experimental Evolution to become the CIW's Department of Genetics. The CIW funded that laboratory until 1939. It closed in 1944 and its records retained in a university library. The CIW continues is support for genetic research, and among its notable grantees in that field are Nobel laureates Barbara McClintock and Alfred Hershey.
Presidents of the CIW
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