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May 6, 2010
Georgetown broke ground May 5 for a $100 million, state-of-the-art science center.

"As we take Georgetown into its third century, we are laying the foundation for the future with this new building," President John J. DeGioia said at a ceremony attended by more than 100 members of the university community.  "It will be a place where faculty and students will make new scientific discoveries, engage in world-class research and learn."

Slated for completion in 2012, the five-story building will be a research and teaching center for the biology, chemistry and physics departments. Its teaching labs and other spaces have been designed to maximize collaboration and interdisciplinary research. The building will be designed to include"“green" features to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification.

The science center is supported in part by a $6.9 million award from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The federal stimulus funding was designed to create jobs for "shovel-ready" projects.

The NIST funding will establish the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology at the science center. Several Georgetown faculty members have expertise in soft matter research, which studies the biological properties of materials such as liquid crystals, colloids, polymers, foams and gels.

Physics professor and soft matter specialist Jeffrey Urbach said such research has practical applications for items made of soft matter, such as bulletproof vests. It "is inherently interdisciplinary, involving chemistry and physics, materials science, engineering and other fields," he said.

"Teaching and learning aren’t dependent on facilities, but surely research and learning will be enhanced by this new space," said Georgetown College Dean Chester Gillis before Rev. Philip Boroughs, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry, blessed the site with holy water.
Many thanks to Geneva Collins for this item.
   page last updated: May 13, 2010
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