Dean, School of Science

The School of Science at MIT continues to play a leadership role, both nationally and internationally, in science education and research. Our graduate education programs are ranked among the very top in all the disciplines of the School by a variety of organizations. Maintaining that high standard is the highest priority of the faculty and administration in the School.

The School of Science continues to do a major part of the undergraduate education at MIT. Biology has grown in the last decade to become the second largest major (after EECS) at the Institute. In addition, the Departments of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry have some of the largest student contact hours. This overall excellence of teaching is exemplified by the number of MacVicar Fellows in the School (43 percent of the total). The School of Science Teaching Prize for Undergraduate Education for 2000-2001 was awarded to Professor Steven Pinker of BCS. There was no award made for gradudate teaching that year.

The quality of an academic unit such as the School of Science is determined by the caliber of the faculty involved. One of the highest priorities of the School administration is to support our existing outstanding faculty and to recruit to MIT exceptionally talented young researchers and educators, especially underrepresented minorities and women, to our faculty. In 2000-2001, eleven new faculty joined the School as Assistant Professors, including one female and three underrepresented minorities. In 1999-2000 fifteen new faculty joined the school which included two female full professors, one female assistant professor and one underrepresented minority assistant professor.

Our faculty received many honors and awards during the past year, both external and internal. Of particular note, is the induction of Professor Robert Weinberg into the American Philosophical Society and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, the award of the Young Investigator Award of the Society for Neuroscience to Professor Earl Miller, the American Chemical Society Award in Analytical Chemistry to Professor Klaus Biemann, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics of the Franklin Institute to Professor Alan Guth, the election of Professor Barbara Imperiali and Professor Stephen Buchwald to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the election of Professor Dietmar Seyferth and Professor Rainer Weiss to the National Academy of Sciences.

The many new research initiatives and fundamental discoveries that occurred in the various departments and laboratories of the School of Science are discussed below in the reports of those units.

Fund raising in the School of Science reached all time highs over the past few years with a total of new gifts and new pledges exceeding $35M in FY2001.

Academic Programs

There were 767 undergraduate majors in the School of Science during the past academic year, a 2.3 percent decrease from the previous year. The number of minority student majors at the undergraduate level changed as follows:

Blacks 37 to 30 (18% decrease)
Hispanics 61 to 53 (13% decrease)
Native Americans 13 to 11 (15% decrease)
Asian Americans 205 to 207 (1% increase)

The number of minors awarded in the School of Science in 2000-2001 was 65. The female undergraduate population decreased marginally from 422 to 409. Twenty-four percent of the Institute's upperclass undergraduates were enrolled in the School of Science.

Graduate enrollments in science increased from 974 to 1034. The total enrollment represents 18 percent of the graduate population at MIT. The number of minority students at the graduate level changed as follows:

Blacks 11 to 12 (9% increase)
Hispanics 17 to 14 (18% decrease)
Native Americans 2 to 3 (50% increase)
Asian Americans 55 to 61 (11% increase)

The number of female graduate students increased from 319 to 323 (1.3 percent). The overall percentage of female graduate students remained at 31 percent.

The 253 faculty members in the School this past year represents a one percent decrease from the previous year. The undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio was three to one, and the graduate student-to-faculty ratio was four to one.

Research Volume

The FY2000 research volume was $120.7 million, a $3 million increase over the FY1999 research volume. This figure does not include the significantly increased research volume by MIT faculty at the Whitehead Institute (>$30M), HHMI faculty (>$10M) as well as the research volume associated with School of Science research carried out in the interdisciplinary laboratories reporting to the Vice President and Dean for Research.

Robert J. Silbey

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