Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tesla Science Center Gets Another Boost from "The Oatmeal" Cartoonist

Wardenclyffe Tower, 1904. Public domain photo.
Nikola Teslathe inventor, engineer, and visionary thinker who famously rivaled Edisonmay soon be honored in a proposed science center and museum to be located at one of his former laboratories, the New York site known as Wardenclyffe. First, however, the group behind the project needs to raise funds to clean up hazardous materials and begin renovations of the buildings on the property.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2008 to develop a regional science and technology center and Nikola Tesla Museum, successfully purchased the 16-acre industrial site on which Wardenclyffe was locatedthanks in large part to a popular 2012 campaign by Matthew Inman (the artist behind the wildly popular webcomic The Oatmeal). Now, Inman is once again drawing upon his large fanbase and cartoon humor to serve as the galvanizing force behind an indiegogo fundraiserthis time, to replace the dilapidated roof of the Stanford White building, the main laboratory facility on the campus.

Those interested in donating toward the project can make a tax-deductible contribution entitling them to have a commemorative engraved brick placed in their name in the forthcoming paving projects, beginning at the base of a bronze statue erected on the property last year. Either by visiting Inman's indiegogo project site or the Tesla Science Center's Buy a Brick for Nik page, donors can select 4x8 or 8x8 bricks (or even a 16x16 array!).

The fundraising won't end hereat least $10 million is projected to be required for the renovation of Wardenclyffe buildings and construction of the science center and museum, according to the indiegogo project pagebut the team has other plans in the works. This second campaign surpassed the 80% mark of its funding goal after just the first day, so it's likely that total contributions will far exceed the $200K project goal and a good bet that public sentiment will remain favorable for future fundraisers. Furthermore, a concurrent T-shirt fundraiser has already generated sales resulting in excess of $50,000 in donations.

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Augmented Me is a blog about cyberculture written by a Google Glass Explorer.

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