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NSF News

News - September 16, 1999

NSF SP-99-04
Media contact:  Bill Line  (703) 292-8070
Program contact:  Christie Lee Emden  (212) 450-7049

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Unique Public-Private Partnership Announces Science Challenge to America's Youth


Nation's largest effort of its kind

A unique alliance of government, public and private organizations today unveiled "JumpStart 2000, Your Chance to Build a Better Century," the largest appeal ever to the nation's youth to use science and technology to create real solutions for a better life in the 21st century.

JumpStart 2000 is a national science and technology challenge for students in grades K-12. Developed and sponsored by PARADE and react magazines, the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation in partnership with the White House Millennium Council, the program invites all students to identify and share their hopes and concerns for the future and to apply science and technology to propose innovative solutions to important national or global issues. The effort also enlists the aid of teachers or other adult coaches.

This Sunday's PARADE and the September 27 issue of react and, the magazine's online companion (, will carry the announcement of the JumpStart 2000 challenge and provide entry rules and information. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton also encourages America's students to get involved. (See enclosed letter.)

JumpStart 2000's rules direct students to form teams of four students, with each team having one adult coach. Entries will be judged on creativity and innovation (40%), scientific thinking and feasibility (30%) and clarity of communication (30%).

All students will be judged within their age and education level (two teams each in three categories: grades K to 4; 5 to 8; 9 to 12). Six winning teams and their ideas will be featured in PARADE and react magazines in the spring of 2000. Deadline for all entries is January 14, 2000, with winners notified on or about March 31, 2000. Each winning team will receive $500 to create a demonstration of their solution. All six winning teams will travel to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony May 16-18, 2000.

The National Science Board (NSB) is the governing board of the National Science Foundation and provides advice to the President and Congress on matters of science and engineering policy.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency responsible for funding more than $3.5 billion annually of research and education in science and engineering. NSF was created in 1950 to promote and advance progress in science and engineering research and education in the United States.

Each Sunday, PARADE magazine educates, entertains, and empowers more than 80 million readers. PARADE is distributed in all 50 states via 340 of the nation's newspapers. Published by PARADE publications, react is an interactive news and entertainment magazine for teens with a readership of more than 3.6 million; it is distributed weekly in more than 200 newspapers nationwide.

The President and First Lady established the White House Millennium Council in 1997 to build public-private partnerships and encourage all Americans to participate in meaningful programs that will leave a lasting legacy.


Attachments: Quote Sheet and Judges' Biographical sketch sheet.


Quote Sheet

The following quotes are provided as assistance to reporters in filing stories on JumpStart2000. Each designated speaker has approved his or her quote. When using a quote(s), reporters and writers are asked to use an individual's quote in its entirety.

"Through JumpStart2000, young people can experience the excitement of learning science and will recognize as well its great capacity to improve people's lives," noted First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. (NOTE: This quote is taken from the enclosed letter from First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton).

"With JumpStart2000, we hope and expect to have this nation's students-our future-identify specific problems facing the country and propose science-based solutions to those problems. Nothing could be more exciting," declared National Science Board Chairman Eamon Kelly.

"This is a call for our nation's young people to help envision the best for America's future. It asks them to unleash their full creative potential to imagine the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century," National Science Foundation Director Dr. Rita Colwell explained.

(Please attribute the following quote to Walter Anderson, Editor, PARADE Magazine):

"Not only is it important that our young people are aware of the problems that face us today, but it's even more important that we encourage them to take action against those problems. The JumpStart2000 project is the perfect vehicle to accomplish that."



The JumpStart2000 Judges:

David H. Levy, considered one of the world's foremost astronomers, was named Science Editor of PARADE Magazine in September, 1998. Co-discoverer (with Carolyn S. Shoemaker) of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet, Levy has discovered 21 comets, third largest in history. Levy has written 21 books on science and astronomy and is a frequent television guest on science and astronomy issues. In 1998, he won an Emmy for his role in writing the Discovery Channel documentary "Three Minutes to Impact." Levy has been a columnist for Sky and Telescope and Sky News magazines and has been a contributor to Smithsonian and Scientific American magazines.

Ellen Ochoa is a Mission Specialist astronaut at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and has served as a crewmember on three Space Shuttle missions. Her latest Space Shuttle flight in May 1999 involved docking with the International Space Station and included transferring supplies. On her second mission, Ochoa served as Payload Commander, with overall responsibility for all scientific payloads. Ochoa has delivered more than 120 talks for schools and students on her astronaut career, space science experiments, and the importance of education.

Carolyn S. Shoemaker is a planetary astronomer and staff scientist at the Lowell Observatory and a research professor of astronomy at Northern Arizona University, both in Flagstaff, AZ. Shoemaker has discovered 32 comets within 11 years, 27 of them jointly with her husband Eugene. Included among these comets was the Jupiter impactor of 1994, Shoemaker-Levy 9, found together with Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy. Shoemaker is also credited with discovering 41 Earth-approaching asteroids, 67 "Mars-crossers," and many other asteroids of unusual motion. Shoemaker received her B.A. and M.A. from Chico State University in California and holds an honorary doctorate in science from Northern Arizona University.

Neil de Grasse Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Tyson is also a Visiting Research Scientist in astrophysics at Princeton University, where he also teaches. Tyson holds a BA in physics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University. In addition to numerous professional publications, Tyson has written recent books including Universe Down to Earth, a collection of essays exploring connections between concepts of science and everyday life, and Just Visiting this Planet, a playful Q&A book on the universe for all ages.

Marilyn vos Savant has written the "Ask Marilyn" column for PARADE Magazine since 1986, where she answers readers' questions ranging from the philosophical to the mathematical. The author of eight books, vos Savant lives in New York with her husband, Dr. Robert Jarvik, developer of the artificial heart that bears his name. She also works for his research and development company. vos Savant was listed in the "Guiness Book of World Records" for five years under "Highest I.Q." (It's 228!) She has since been inducted into the "Guinness Hall of Fame."


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