MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

School of Science

The School of Science at MIT continues to play a leadership role in science education and research both nationally and internationally. Our faculty received a broad array of honors and awards during the past year, the most notable being the receipt of the 1994 Nobel Prize for Physics by Clifford G. Shull, Emeritus Professor of Physics. All of our graduate programs are ranked at or near the top in the Nation. Of course, maintaining this high standard in the future will require continued dedication and diligence by all of the members of our community, especially in an era of diminishing resources.

Our education programs continue to evolve and improve in response to ever-changing conditions. The Minors in Science Program is now firmly integrated into the undergraduate curriculum. Biology was successfully introduced into the core curriculum last year and has continued quite successfully this year. Physics introduced a major change in the structure of 8.01 with most of the teaching taking place in small sections of ~ 20 students. Further refinement of this novel approach will take place next year. EAPS is revamping its educational program, especially at the graduate level, with an emphasis on a systems approach. EAPS will also introduce a professional masters degree. BCS has been designing a neuroscience major to be introduced in FY1996.

In 1993 the School of Science established the "School of Science Teaching Prize for Graduate Education" to complement the prize for undergraduate education established by John Deutch in 1983. The previous winners of the graduate award are Profs. Mehran Kardar of the Department of Physics, Victor Guillemin of Mathematics and Frank Solomon of Biology. The 1995 winner was Professor A. Nihat Berker of Physics. The School of Science Teaching Prize for Undergraduate Education was won by Michael Artin of Mathematics and Sylvia Ceyer of Chemistry. Two School of Science faculty were chosen as MacVicar fellows in FY95; they are Tom Greytak and Wit Busza of Physics.

The quality of an academic enterprise such as the School of Science is determined primarily by the caliber of the faculty who make it up. Thus, one of the highest priorities of the current administration in the School has been to support properly our existing outstanding faculty as well as recruiting to MIT exceptionally talented young educators and researchers. In 1994-95 nine new faculty joined the School as assistant professors; one as an associate professor; and one additional faculty was appointed as a full professor. We also had a very significant departure at the end of this academic year. Ciba-Geigy Professor of Chemistry and Provost, Mark S. Wrighton, left to become the Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. We wish him all the best in this endeavor.

One of the most significant events of FY95 was the formation of the Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science. This committee was created as the result of an initiative which involved all of the senior women in the School of Science. The committee has multiple purposes and responsibilities. First, the committee will collect data to be used in assessing the status and equitable treatment of women faculty in the School of Science. Second, the committee should facilitate communications between the women faculty and the dean and department heads. Third, the committee should act as a resource for the Dean of Science and the department heads. Finally, it is anticipated that the committee will also serve as a resource to the MIT community as a whole to provide advice about issues of concern to women faculty at MIT.

In FY94, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences joined the School of Science. In April of 1994 the Center for Learning and Memory was established. This new Center is joint between the Departments of Biology and Brain and Cognitive Sciences. The first head of CLM is Professor Susumu Tonegawa of CCR/Biology. The first direct appointee in CLM, assistant professor Matthew A. Wilson, joined MIT this autumn. It is anticipated that neuroscience will become a major thrust in the School of Science in the next decade. In particular, we expect significant interdisciplinary work involving most, if not all, of the departments in the School. New interdisciplinary connects have already been made as a result of Brain and Cognitive Sciences joining the School.


There were 900 undergraduates in the School of Science during the past academic year, a 6.13% increase from the previous year. The number of minority students at the undergraduate level changed as follows:

Blacks Increased from 20 to 25 (28.00% increase)

Hispanics No change (48)

Native Americans Decreased from 8 to 7 (12.50% decrease)

Asian Americans Increased from 216 to 276 (27.78% increase)

The female undergraduate population increased from 336 to 372 (10.71%). Twenty percent of the Institute's upperclass undergraduates were enrolled in the School of Science.

Graduate enrollments in science decreased from 1,119to 1,084 The total enrollment represents 22 percent of the graduate population at MIT. The number of minority students at the graduate level changed as follows:

Blacks Increased from 18 to 19 (5.56% increase)

Hispanics Increased from 13 to 14 (7.69% increase)

Native Americans Remained at 0 (0% increase)

Asian Americans Increased from 42 to 47 (11.90% increase)

The number of female graduate students decreased from 306 to 245 (19.93%).

There were 274 faculty members in the School this past year. This represents a slight increase from the previous year. The undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio was 3 to 1, and the graduate student-to-faculty ratio was 4 to 1.


The FY95 research volume was $125 million, a 1% increase over the FY94 research volume.

Robert J. Birgeneau

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95