For Immediate Release—Friday, Nov. 3, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo to Celebrate Opening of Integrated Science Center Nov. 9-10

GENESEO, N.Y.—The State University of New York at Geneseo will celebrate the opening of its Integrated Science Center Thursday, Nov. 9, and Friday, Nov. 10, with tours of the state-of-the-art building, symposia, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an arts exhibit.

John H. Marburger III, science advisor to President George W. Bush and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, will deliver the keynote address following the ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 10.

The opening of the Integrated Science Center (ISC) will celebrate Geneseo's continuing excellence as the state's most selective public institution and mark a new era in science teaching, learning and research in Western New York. It will allow Geneseo, which has offered combined majors in biophysics, biochemistry, geochemistry and geophysics for many years, to integrate the sciences.

"This $53 million project represents a significant state investment in science education and includes $5 million for equipment. Undergraduate research is already a hallmark at Geneseo. With the addition of our new science center, we can now offer the highest quality classes, laboratories and research experiences," said Geneseo Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Katherine Conway-Turner.

"Integrating the sciences within one large complex will facilitate the kind of interdisciplinary research and discovery that is seldom seen at an undergraduate institution. Most importantly, this new facility is a tremendous boost for the production of scientific intellectual capital for the state of New York."

Guided tours of the building will be offered for faculty, students, the public and guests from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 9 and noon-2 p.m. Nov. 10.

The Integrated Science Center will be completed in two phases. Phase I, which began in the fall of 2003, is the $33 million new ISC, featuring 105,000 square feet and housing 17 instructional

lab and 36 faculty research labs. The building opened for classes this August and houses the college's departments of geological sciences and biology. Phase II, which will begin in the fall of 2007, will be a $20 million renovation to Greene Hall, which connects to the ISC. Greene Hall will continue to house the departments of chemistry and physics and astronomy.

The facilities and equipment in the ISC include greenhouses with three research labs and a demonstration lab; an optics lab; a rooftop astronomy observation deck and dome with a new Meade 20-inch Ritchey-Cretien reflecting telescope; a wave tank and flume in the hydrology/geology lab; electron microscopes; X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence units; geophysical equipment; a confocal microscope; a flow cytometer; and four environmental chambers.

The atrium of the ISC includes representation of the sciences with a Foucault pendulum (physics), a two-story, three-dimensional periodic table of the elements (chemistry); an inlaid geological timeline (geological sciences); and a glass-etched salamander life cycle (biology).

The ISC was designed by the New York City office of HOK Architects (Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK/New York) to enable future collaboration among the science departments in teaching and research. The Pike Company, Inc., of Rochester served as the contractor for the project.

The New York State Legislature provided the funding for the ISC and has committed funding for the renovation of Greene Hall. State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, was instrumental in the Legislature's decision to appropriate the funding. State Senator Daniel J. Burling, R-Warsaw, also provided support of the projects.

U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, has secured funding for the college throughout the past several years, including $150,000 for a cluster computing lab, $250,000 toward the purchase of a linear accelerator and $300,000 toward the purchase of a Fourier Transform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer that will be used for research of organic and biochemical molecules and will allow researchers to determine the structure of these molecules.

An All-College Hour Symposium on the Sciences and the Liberal Arts will be held from 12:45-1:50 p.m. Nov. 9 in 202 Newton Hall. Linda Rayor, an assistant professor of entomology and senior research associate at Cornell University, will deliver a presentation titled "A Romance With Spiders." Conway-Turner will introduce Rayor, who is an arthropod behavioral ecologist with special interest in the interactions between predatory and social behavior. Spiders have evoked a combination of fear and fascination for millennia. Raynor will provide a dynamic introduction to the real facts about spiders and their amazing biology. She will talk about the diverse predatory behavior and unique sex lives of spiders. The audience can watch a tarantula shed her exoskeleton and explore the lives of social spiders. Raynor also will discuss the importance of spiders to worldwide ecosystems.

Raynor grew up in Denver, where flashy insects and spiders were common. An animal lover since she was a child, she received her bachelor's degree in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received her Ph.D. in systematics and ecology to become a behavioral ecologist. While studying prairie dog social behavior in graduate school, Raynor developed a love for spiders, insects and entomologists. Her research on social spiders and wasps has taken her to Mexico, Costa Rica, Arizona and Australia. At Cornell, she teaches Spider Biology and Insect Behavior. Raynor's current research is on the costs and benefits of group living in social spiders.

A Symposium on Science Pedagogy in the Schools will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Nov. 9 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., will deliver a talk titled "Evolution Across the Science Curriculum." This event is sponsored by the college's Ella Cline Shear School of Education and the Office of the Provost. The national center, based in Oakland, Calif., is an organization of scientists, teachers and others that works to improve the teaching of evolution. The center promotes science as a way of knowing and opposes the teaching of creationism and other religious-based views in science classes. Scott is a nationally recognized proponent of separation of church and state. She received her Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Missouri and has taught at the University of Kentucky and the University of Colorado. The author of "Creationism vs. Evolution: An Introduction," Scott has published numerous papers and monographs. She has served as chair of the Ethics Committee of the American Anthropological Association, as president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and has chaired both the anthropology and education sections of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also has served on the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church of State and the American Civil Liberties Union. Scott has appeared on numerous national media shows, serving as a spokesperson for "the scientific view," including "Crossfire," "Firing Line," "Geraldo," "Donahue" and "The Pat Buchanan Show." Scott is the recipient of the Bruce Albers Award of the American Society for Cell Biology, the Isaac Asimov Science Award from the American Humanist Association, the First Amendment Award from the Playboy Foundation, the James Randi Award from the Skeptic Society and the Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of Missouri College of Arts and Sciences.

During the symposium on science pedagogy, Geneseo will award two Geneseo Alumni Association Awards.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Computational Astrophysics David Meisel will receive the Geneseo Alumni Association 2006 Honorary Lifetime Membership. This award recognizes a non-alumnus/a who has made outstanding contributions to Geneseo Alumni.

Meisel, who joined the college in 1970, was promoted to the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor in 2001. It is the highest rank in the SUNY system. Meisel was the fourth faculty member at the college to receive the title, which is conferred on SUNY faculty who have achieved national or international prominence within their field. Meisel has been a prominent astronomer since he investigated Comet Kohoutek shortly before his arrival at Geneseo. Meisel, who retired in 2005 after a 35-year teaching career with the college, delivered the commencement address the same year he retired. The title of his speech was "The Answer is 42." Meisel, who specializes in searching for interstellar micrometeors, took the title of his speech from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," which states 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything. Throughout his tenure at Geneseo, Meisel worked with numerous undergraduate students on world-class research.

Using Geneseo's advanced computer clusters to analyze data collected in Earth's upper atmosphere, Meisel—who continues to conduct research at SUNY Geneseo—has confirmed the findings of dust from outside our solar system. Particles from outer space may provide clues about the origins of the universe and the birth of our planet. Meisel's research has appeared in Icarus, Science, Nature, Solar Physics and the Astrophysical Journal, and his work has been presented throughout the world. His projects have included work on the SPIRIT rocket launch and the discovery of micrometers originating from outside the solar system.

George Wolfe '80 will receive the Geneseo Alumni Association 2006 Excellence in Education Award. This award is presented to a Geneseo graduate who has achieved extraordinary distinction in the field of education, including pre-kindergarten through post-secondary classroom teaching and school services. Wolfe received his New York State Teacher Certificate from Geneseo. Wolfe is an award-winning teacher and served as the longtime host of the WXXI-produced television show, "Homework Hotline" and its Science Challenge segment. The show was broadcast on public television stations across the state. In 2004, he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. After serving the Rochester City School District from 1984-2005, Wolfe left Wilson Magnet High School to accept a job developing in the curriculum for the Loudoun County Public Schools Academy of Science in Sterling, Va.

A reception for participants will immediately follow the symposium.

Tours of the ISC will resume from noon-2 p.m. Nov. 10.

The ribbon-cutting and formal opening of the building will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 10 in the atrium of the ISC. Marburger will address the audience with his speech, titled  "Integrating the Sciences: The Importance of Multidisciplinary Research and Education" at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 in 204 Newton Hall. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. in Newton Hall and the ISC.

Before his appointment to serve in the Executive Office of the President, Marburger served as director of Brookhaven National Laboratory and as president of SUNY Stony Brook from 1980-1994. He went to Long Island from the University of Southern California, where he served as a professor of physics and electrical engineering and chair of physics and dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. In 1994, he returned to the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook, teaching and conducting research in optical science as a university professor. Three years later, he became president of Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership between the university and Battelle Memorial Institute that competed for and won the contract to operate Brookhaven National Laboratory.

At USC, Marburger contributed to the rapidly growing field of nonlinear optics, developing theory for various laser phenomena, and served as a co-founder of the university's Center for Laser Studies. His teaching activities included "Frontiers of Electronics," a series of educational programs on CBS. His presidency at SUNY Stony Brook coincided with the opening and growth of University Hospital and the development of the biological sciences as a major strength of the university. Marburger received his bachelor's degree in physics from Princeton University in 1962 and his Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1967.

In conjunction with the opening of the science building, the college's Lockhart Gallery will open a new exhibit Nov. 7 titled "The Art of Science: Artists Whose Inspiration is the Sciences." The exhibit is free and open to the public. The exhibit will run through Dec. 14 in the gallery, located in the McClellan House, 26 Main St., in the village of Geneseo. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will be held from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7. The sciences—including mathematics, biology, geology, anatomy and physics—have provided source material for artists throughout history. This exhibition of contemporary artists reveals the art (sometimes in its aesthetic beauty, sometimes in its awe-inspiring power) that is found in science. The exhibit includes the work of nationally and internationally recognized local artists: Doug Anderson and Dan DeZarn, faculty in Geneseo's School of the Arts, and Andrew Davidhazy and Michael Peres, faculty of photographic science at Rochester Institute of Technology. Also on view from the gallery's permanent collection is Jane Jeffrey's scientific watercolor illustrations of insects. The gallery is open from noon-4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays with extended hours of noon-8 p.m. Thursdays. (The gallery will be closed Nov. 22-26 for the Thanksgiving break.)

For more information about these celebratory events, go to:


Editor's note: High-resolution digital photographs of the interior and exterior of the Integrated Science Center, as well as those of professors and students conducting scientific research, are available upon request.