MIT School of Science

The MIT School of Science is one of the five schools of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The school is composed of 6 academic departments and grants S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. or Sc.D degrees. The current Dean of Science is Professor Michael Sipser[1]. With approximately 300 faculty members, 1200 graduate students, 1000 undergraduate majors, the school is the second largest at MIT. 16 faculty members and 16 alumni of the school have won Nobel Prizes.[2]


The School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was established in 1932 as part of the reorganization of the Institute recommended by MIT President Karl Taylor Compton. The departments that became part of the School of Science were: Biology and Public Health (which in 1942 became the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and in 1945 the Department of Biology); Chemistry; Geology (which in 1952 became the Department of Geology and Geophysics, in 1969 the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and in 1983 the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences); Mathematics; Physics; and Military Science and Tactics (which in 1933 became part of the Division of Humanities). The Department of General Science and Engineering was part of the School of Science from 1933 until it was discontinued in 1959.

In 1945 the Program in Food Technology was separated from the Department of Biology and Biomedical Engineering and became the Department of Food Technology (in 1960 the name changed to the Department of Nutrition, Food Science, and Technology, in 1963 to the Department of Nutrition and Food Science, and in 1985 to the Department of Applied Biological Sciences). In 1988 the department was disbanded. In 1957 the Department of Meteorology moved from the School of Engineering to the School of Science (in 1981 it became the Department of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and in 1983, part of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences). In 1994 the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences was moved from the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology to the School of Science.[3]


The Department of Biology (Course VII) began as a department of natural history in 1871.

Brain and Cognitive Sciences

The Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course IX) began as the Department of Psychology in 1964.[4]


The Department of Chemistry (Course V) was one of the original departments when MIT opened in 1865.[5]

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course XII) was formed from the 1983 merger of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Department of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, the former tracing its origins back to the first geology courses taught at MIT in 1865.[6]


Department web site Department of Mathematics (Course XVIII)


The Department of Physics (Course VIII)

Affiliated laboratories and centers

Bates Linear Accelerator

Center for Cancer Research

Center for Global Change Science

The Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) at MIT was founded in January 1990 to address fundamental questions about climate processes with a multidisciplinary approach. In July 2006 the CGCS became an independent Center in the School of Science. The Center’s goal is to improve the ability to accurately predict changes in the global environment.

The CGCS seeks to better understand the natural mechanisms in ocean, atmosphere and land systems that together control the Earth’s climate, and to apply improved knowledge to problems of predicting climate changes. The Center utilizes theory, observations, and numerical models to investigate climate phenomena, the linkages among them, and their potential feedbacks in a changing climate.

The director of the CGCS is Professor Ron Prinn from MIT.

Center for Ultracold Atoms

The MIT–Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) is a collaborative research laboratory between MIT and Harvard University.

The core research program in the CUA consists of four collaborative experimental projects whose goals are to provide new sources of ultracold atoms and quantum gases, and new types of atom-wave devices. These projects will enable new research on topics such as quantum fluids, atom/photon optics, coherence, spectroscopy, ultracold collisions, and quantum devices. In addition, the CUA has a theoretical program centered on themes of quantum optics, many-body physics, wave physics, and atomic structure and interactions.

The Director of the CUA is Wolfgang Ketterle (a 2001 Nobel laureate in physics) from MIT.[7][8]

Earth Resources Laboratory (ERL)

Experimental Study Group

Laboratory for Nuclear Science

McGovern Institute for Brain Research

MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics & Space Research

Picower Institute for Learning and Memory

Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate

Spectroscopy Laboratory

George R. Wallace, Jr. Astrophysical Observatory


  1. ^
  2. ^ "About MIT's School of Science". MIT. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "About BCS/History". MIT. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  5. ^ "MIT Chemistry: History of the Department". MIT. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  6. ^ "MIT EAPS: History". MIT. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  7. ^ Mass. Inst. of Tech., Research Lab. of Electronics, MIT–Harvard Ctr. for Ultracold Atoms. (2009). "Contact". Retrieved 2009-10-19.  (“Director: Ketterle, Wolfgang … MIT …; Co-Directors: Doyle … Harvard …; Kleppner … MIT …”)
  8. ^ National Science Found., Comm. of Visitors of the Div. of Physics. (2006). Report of the Committee of Visitors to the Division of Physics (FY 2006 ed.).  PHYcov_06.pdf (“The 2001 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to the [Bose-Einstein condensates] work of … Wieman, … Cornell and … Ketterle.”)

External links

  • Official website

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