September 18, 2008

Grinnell College to Dedicate New Science Center Named for Alumnus Inventor Robert N. Noyce

As America seeks to produce a new generation of scientists capable of tackling complex global challenges, Grinnell College will dedicate an innovative science teaching building named for one of its most notable science graduates - the late Robert N. Noyce '49, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel Corporation.

The dedication of The Robert N. Noyce '49 Science Center, designed by Chicago architectural firm Holabird and Root, will take place on October 4, 2008 at a campus event celebrating Grinnell's highly successful active learning approach, in which students pursue knowledge as working scientists through a methodical process of inquiry.

This approach has been extraordinarily effective in educating future scientists. With just 1,600 students, Grinnell ranks number eight among all U.S. higher education institutions in producing graduates who go on to pursue doctorate degrees in scientific and medical fields, according to the National Science Foundation.

The Noyce Center includes state-of-the-art teaching spaces and research laboratories allowing students and faculty to move seamlessly from classroom to lab, engage in individual or group study and hold freewheeling discussions in open, inviting common areas.

"The Noyce Science Center reflects Grinnell's individualized approach to science education in the liberal arts, which produces 'renaissance scientists' who bring extraordinary insights, innovative thinking, ethical judgment and humane understanding to their work," said President Russell K. Osgood. "We now have the first-rate facilities to support this exemplary academic program that has graduated scientists who have made a real difference in their fields of scholarship and research."

Among those speaking at the dedication ceremonies is Thomas Cech, acclaimed 1970 Grinnell alumnus, Nobel Prize winner and former president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Cech changed the scientific understanding of the molecular basis of life and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1989. Now at University of Colorado at Boulder, he and his research group are working to understand the structure and function of catalytic RNA molecules and the activity and regulation of telomerase. He credits his liberal arts education at Grinnell with powerfully helping to shape his successful scientific career.

Coinciding with the dedication, President Osgood has tapped a veteran member of the Grinnell faculty and administration, James Swartz, Professor of Chemistry and leader of Project Kaleidoscope, who formerly served as Chair of the Grinnell Science Division and Dean of the College, to lead the planning of special programming focused on science education within the liberal arts environment. This initiative is envisioned as a resource to other colleges and universities interested in pursuing Grinnell's curricular model for discovery and inquiry in the sciences.

About Grinnell:

Grinnell College ( is a nationally recognized, private, four year, liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many international countries in more than 25 major fields, interdisciplinary concentrations, and pre-professional programs.