A drive spearheaded by first lady Colleen Bangerter to raise funds for a statue of Philo T. Farnsworth in Washington, D.C., is a worthy project in behalf of one of Utah's sons who is often too-little recognized for his contributions to science and technology.

Every time someone switches on a television set, the viewer has Farnsworth to thank. An inventive genius who labored in relative obscurity much of his life, he is credited with basic cathode ray tube inventions that led to the creation of TV, as well as fundamental discoveries in radar, electron microscopes, incubators for newborn babies, and the gastroscope, a medical diagnostic tool.Despite his profound discoveries, his acknowledgment as the "father of television," and his election to the Inventors Hall of Fame, Farnsworth, remains unknown to much of the world. A native of Beaver, Utah, he died in 1971 at the age of 65.

A campaign is under way to commission a statue of Farnsworth and place it in Washington's Statuary Hall. Each state is allowed two statues, but Utah one of only five states that has only one - of Brigham Young. Utah elementary school students discovered this fact and pushed for a Farnsworth statue and persuaded legislators to support the idea.

Mrs. Bangerter is asking Utah schools to compete with each other in raising $80,000 of the $185,000 cost for a bronze statue. A commission appointed by Gov. Norm Bangerter and headed by former Gov. Scott Matheson, is working on raising the rest. The governor has designated May 2, the end of the drive, as Philo T. Farnsworth Day in Utah.

Citizens can send contributions to the Philo T. Farnsworth Statuary Hall Commission, 617 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102.

Given the impact of his discoveries on the world, Farnsworth is a good choice to represent Utah among the distinguished people immortalized in the nation's capital.