Major donation by Izzo family will help transform climate change exhibit at Liberty Science Center

Paul Hoffman, CEO of Liberty Science Center, may have been (half) joking Monday night at the 12th annual Genius Gala when he said: “Science says you will feel better if you donate to Liberty Science Center.”

If that’s true, the happiness levels of Ralph and Karen Izzo were elevated to new highs after the couple made a $1.5 million donation to the center to help fight climate change.

The ever-gracious Hoffman said the gift will enable the Jersey City science center to dramatically upgrade an exhibit at LSC.

“The funds will allow us to take the existing ‘Our Hudson Home’ exhibition gallery with its two giant aquariums and transform it to a new space called: ‘Water World, How Climate Change Threatens the Hudson,’” Hoffman said.

The current existing fishtanks will remain in place and the remaining pieces will be replaced.  In the center of Water World, a prominent touch tank will be built that is filled with Hudson River marine life that is adversely affected by climate change.

Hoffman said the need for awareness is great, as the Hudson River has warmed 4 degrees in the past century and has risen a foot — and he said it could rise 6 feet more by the year 2100.

The gift from the Izzos will fund the new touch tank and help LSC address the existential issue of our time.

Hoffman said the Water World gallery also will feature an augmented reality experience in which guests can look out over the Hudson and visualize the past and future of the river, as well as New York City and Jersey City, over various global warming and flooding scenarios.

And, when LSC is able to raise additional funding (hint, hint) the facility will add a storm surge simulation within the gallery itself.

Ralph Izzo was chairman and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group from 2007-22. He is a well-known leader in the energy industry as well as the public policy arena.

Izzo began his career as a research scientist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, performing numerical simulations of fusion energy experiments. He has published or presented more than 35 papers and holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Columbia University, and an MBA from Rutgers’ Graduate School of Management.

Izzo is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory committee.

Karen Izzo received a Bachelor of Science in biology and has worked for several firms in places ranging from Sweden to Piscataway during her career in biotechnology. She now dedicates her time to rescuing animals and is the driving force behind the Izzo Family Foundation philanthropic efforts.