Dean, School of Science

The School of Science plays a worldwide leadership role in education and research through its dedication to the advancement of scientific knowledge and the education of students on the constantly evolving frontiers of science. An exciting increase in interdepartmental interactions and multiple disciplinary groups has developed in the School, reflecting the ever-changing scientific environment. 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.

New Initiatives

In the past year the school added three environment, health, and safety (EHS) coordinators to provide day-to-day good practices, compliance-related services, and initiatives that reflect MIT's commitment to environmental sustainability and health and safety excellence. The EHS Coordinators role is to support the independence of research and teaching while improving MIT's performance in meeting and exceeding regulatory requirements. This is a highly collaborative effort that draws on the leadership and expertise of faculty, researchers, students, administrators, and staff, to reshape how all members of the MIT community view their environmental, health, and safety responsibilities, carry out MIT's comprehensive and integrated environmental commitment in their day-to-day activities, and assess MIT's performance against our goals.

This spring, construction began for the brain and cognitive sciences project. This state-of-the-art facility, which will house the Picower Center, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2005. The new building will include offices, research facilities and conference space.

Building and Strengthening a Diverse Community

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. A new faculty search policy has been established with standards to guarantee every faculty search is used as a vehicle to increase the diversity of our faculty. In 2002–2003 eleven assistant professors joined the School including one women and one underrepresented minority. In addition, one woman was hired as full professor.

Faculty Awards

Our faculty received numerous honors in recognition of their research and service, many offered by professional societies and professional communities. The reports of the school's departments, laboratories and centers make note of many of these awards. Several especially notable awards deserve additional mention here. Robert Horvitz shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine 2002. Angelika Amon received the Waterman Award, and Sinha Pawan received the Merck Award. Rudolph Jaenisch, Paul Schechter and Robert Silbey, were elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Barbara Imperiali was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. The School of Science Graduate Teaching Prize was awarded to John Joannopoulos, and the Undergraduate Teaching Prize was awarded to Barbara Imperiali.

Staff Awards

The school continued the Infinite Mile Rewards and Recognition program to recognize the achievements of the outstanding staff. Two school wide award ceremonies were held this year; 46 awards were presented , including three team awards. In addition, 63 administrative staff members were recognized with "Spot Awards".

Academic Program Statistics

There were 849 undergraduate majors in the School of Science during the past academic year, a 7 percent increase from the previous year. The number of minority student majors at the undergraduate level changed as follows:

African Americans 27 to 32 (18% increase)
Hispanics 63 to 71 (12% increase)
Native Americans 14 to 18 (28% increase)
Asian Americans 213 to 237 (11% increase)

Sixty-five minors were awarded in the School in AY2003. The female undergraduate population increased from 426 to 448. One quarter of the Institute's upperclass undergraduates were enrolled in the School of Science. Graduate enrollments in science increased from 1048 to 1082, representing 18 percent of the graduate population at MIT. The number of minority students at the graduate level changed as follows:

African-Americans 16 to 14 (12% decrease)
Hispanics 12 to 17 (41% increase)
Native Americans 2 to 2 (No change)
Asian Americans 61 to 71 (16% increase)

The number of female graduate students increased from 320 to 362. The overall percentage of female graduate students is 33 percent.

The 262 faculty members in the School this year represents a 3.5 percent increase from the previous year. The undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio remained at 3 to 1, and the graduate student-to-faculty ratio remained at 4 to 1.

return to top


Total new gifts and new pledges to the school of Science increased from $36.8 million to $83.2 million in FY2003. This figure includes $64.7 million for the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

Research Volume

The FY2002 research volume was $138.5 million, an $11 million increase over the FY2001 research volume. This figure does not include the significantly increased research volume by MIT faculty at the Whitehead Institute ($135M), HHMI faculty ($8.2M) as well as the research volume associated with School of Science research carried out in the interdisciplinary laboratories reporting to the vice president for research.

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.

Robert J. Silbey
Dean, School of Science
Class of 1942 Professor of Chemistry

More information can be found online at the School of Science web site at


return to top
Table of Contents