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Scientific revolution

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Dispatches from the new Higgins

Graduate student Shancai Wang works with the photoemission chamber in Professor Hong Ding's physics lab.

BY david brittan

The Building

Viewed from the west, the renovated Higgins Hall blends with the look of Boston College's middle campus in a way it never did in its first 37 years, a placid example, now, of Gothic Revival architecture. Viewed from the east, the building rises out of the hillside like a high-tech cathedral, its upthrust pipes and chimneys a monument to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. The instant you enter, you realize that the eastern view is the more telling one: The voluminous atrium bathed in natural light, spanned by bridges and ringed by glassed-in corridors, says that this is a building for people looking forward.

A new Higgins Hall classroom A four-year, $80 million renovation has transformed the cramped home of BC's biology and physics departments, nearly doubling the building's floor space, to 230,000 square feet. William Petri, who chaired the biology department during the construction, recalls that the old facilities "no longer reliably worked." Cold-rooms got warm, cooking the experiments. Warm-rooms got cold. Labs were too long and narrow for teaching in the age of PowerPoint. And so, brand-new research labs, teaching labs, support spaces, classrooms, animal facilities, and media-equipped auditoriums were designed. But there is more to science than facilities.

In planning for the renovation, the University's biologists and physicists got a chance to think about how architecture can not only support science but advance it. Independently, Petri and the physics chairman, Rourke Professor of Physics Kevin Bedell, reached the same conclusion: The hallmark of great science is interaction. "A lot of the best science happens in the hallways," says Bedell, who became acutely aware of how not to promote interaction in his days at Los Alamos National Laboratory (where he headed a research group in many-body physics): "The theorists worked on one side of the street, the experimentalists on the other," he says. "You really want the two camps to be able to inspire each other through frequent exchanges, instead of hiding in their labs."

Bedell and Petri collaborated with the architects--the Boston firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott--to ensure that the layout of the building would encourage researchers and students to meet and share ideas. Laboratories on the upper floors (the fourth and fifth) would encircle the central atrium off abbreviated spokes of hallway. An inner ring of exposed walkways around the core would allow people to hail colleagues on different floors and on both sides of the building. Four "open-air" lunchrooms jutting into the atrium would serve as informal meeting places, each equipped with a computer station and a marker board for scribbling equations and diagrams. The strategy has paid off, says Bedell. "Everywhere you look now, you see people having mini-conferences in alcoves. And there's more collaboration. We have researchers in completely different fields applying for grants together."

While the building reflects a shared vision, it also caters to two quite different sets of priorities. Biologists, for example, love light. "Don't ask me why, they just do," says Petri. Accordingly, the biology offices and labs occupy the uppermost floors, with the sun-drenched views. The physicists don't mind--they thrive on bedrock. "Our labs are all in the basement," says Bedell, "because equipment like scanning tunneling microscopes works best in a vibration-free environment." The arrangement of offices is different, too. For Bedell, a sense of cohesion was key, so the physics offices are clustered together on two floors, open to each other through a wide spiral staircase and chemically bonded by a shared cappuccino maker. The biologists, meanwhile, have their offices right where they wanted them: next to their labs.

Higgins Hall, west facade, c. 1970 (left) and 2003

The biology department's labs are the locus of research across the life sciences, in areas like Alzheimer's, cancer, aging, vision, and cell structure. Physics research has coalesced around the theme of novel electronic materials. It is "boutique science," designed to parlay shared facilities and interests into advances in the study of nanotubes, superconductors, and other odd and enticing structures.

Each laboratory, led by a professor, staffed by research associates and students, is a distinct environment in its own right, with a set of mysteries to be solved, a culture, and a style. Glimpses into four such laboratories--two in biology, two in physics--follow.

Lab 490: A single cell, the perfect master

People who study yeast are a cult within biology. They have their own slogan, the Awesome Power of Yeast Genetics--a reference to the speed and simplicity with which the organism reveals its genetic makeup. And they have their own sects, devoted either to "budding yeast," which multiplies by sprouting tiny buds that grow into new cells, or to "fission yeast," which multiplies by stretching into a cigar shape and splitting down the middle. Another peculiarity of yeast people is that they are only nominally interested in yeast. In its basic mechanisms, yeast, a single-celled fungus, is remarkably similar to plant and animal cells. It is really cell life that fascinates yeast geneticists.

Professor of biology Charles Hoffman, a fission yeast man, wears his luxuriant hair Braveheart style, raises monarch butterflies in a plastic tub in his lab, and buries his desk under teetering piles of documents, many of them articles that he and his laboratory colleagues have published in journals of genetics and molecular biology. Hoffman is invariably either smiling or about to smile. He calls his work "incredibly fun," and speaks of his "love for solving puzzles."

Graduate student Richard Kao studies yeast in biology lab 490. The main puzzle that has occupied Hoffman and his laboratory for the past several years concerns a fundamental question in biology: How does a cell sense its environment? It is well known that the genes within a cell will switch on, switch off, or raise or lower their output of proteins in response to outside stimuli such as nutrients, toxins, and drugs. But the precise chain of events is poorly understood. "What we're asking is, How do proteins on the surface of the cell discriminate among different molecules they come in contact with?" says Hoffman. "Once a protein binds to such a molecule, how does it then cause another protein in the chain of reaction to switch from a low level of function to a high level of function? And how does that protein then go on to activate the next protein in the pathway? That's what we're gradually learning. And we need to learn more. Although it's principally a matter of basic science, we're also aware that someone else might then be able to design drugs that take advantage of those pathways. Biologists, the good ones, are interested in acquiring knowledge that will be useful."

In Hoffman's lab, the vehicle for answering those questions is an organism called Schizosaccharomyces pombe. First isolated in East African millet beer (pombe means "beer" in Swahili), S. pombe is the most widely studied type of fission yeast. Paul Nurse, a British geneticist who won a Nobel prize in 2001 for identifying genes that regulate the reproductive cycle of the cell, did his work on S. pombe. Charlie Hoffman and his lab team are scouring the same organism for genes that control the cell's response to nutrients.

As any brewer knows, yeast feeds on sugar--preferably that most basic and easy-to-use form of sugar known as glucose. Surrounded by glucose, yeast will feed, grow, and divide without end. But if glucose is scarce, the organism must make what Hoffman calls "developmental decisions." Should it switch over to metabolizing some other source of energy? Should it mate with an opposite-sex cell (if one is handy) to produce a spore, a hardy cell that will remain dormant until more glucose arrives? Or should it simply stop growing? Each course of action is somehow driven by analysis of the amount of glucose and other nutrients in the environment--and each activates a different sequence of genes and ensuing proteins. Hoffman and his crew compel the cells to make these kinds of decisions, and then they follow the action at the molecular level, looking for the genes that matter.

In his 1,350-square-foot laboratory, which is considerably tidier than his office, Hoffman points out several four-inch-wide plates, each dotted with eight or 10 fuzzy white clumps. "Colonies of mutants," he explains. Mutations occur naturally in yeast, as they do in all organisms. Under the right conditions, mutant yeast can speak volumes about the inner workings of normal yeast.

To get yeast to talk, you genetically modify a cell so it grows only on a particular nutrient formula. Next you culture the cell to a population numbering in the millions. If you then dump a few million of those offspring onto a different nutrient medium, only mutant cells -- ones in which some nutrient-detecting gene is missing or defective--will grow. "You've identified that something is different; now you want to find out what," Hoffman says. So you take fragments of DNA from a normal cell, insert them into mutant cells, and observe which cells exhibit normal growth behavior. A DNA fragment that ends up "healing" the defective cell must contain, somewhere along its length, the missing gene. Through a lot more trial and error, you should be able to pinpoint the gene and copy it for use in further experiments.

"You don't have to know what genes you're studying to have a gene land in your lap," says Hoffman. "By growing or not growing, the yeast cells tell us where the important genes are, while we sit back and are amazed at how clever we were. And that's the Awesome Power of Yeast Genetics."

In recent years, 11 genes--three of them never before identified--have landed in Hoffman's lap. His three postdoctoral fellows, three graduate students, and four undergraduates are now studying how those genes work and interact. Dave Kelly, a postdoctoral fellow, is trying to rig up fluorescently treated yeast to glow whenever pheromones (sex attractants) activate a certain set of genes. Richard Kao, a Ph.D. student, is investigating the function of a novel gene the lab discovered only a year ago. Another Ph.D. student, Manal Alamry, has her hands full narrowing down the location of a new gene that is thought to be hiding on a particular stretch of DNA.

For Doug Ivey, a postdoctoral fellow who previously worked with a fungus called neurospora, yeast is a dream organism. "You can make strains in a couple of days, where neurospora used to take a month." It's one of the reasons he enjoys working in Hoffman's lab. "That, and the fact that Charlie is always in a good mood." Overhearing, Hoffman pulls out a battered wallet and hands Ivey a dollar. Unlike the other thousand times you've seen that gag, he doesn't take the dollar back.

Lab 110: Getting to know UPt3

Lab 160, domain of physicist Zhifeng Ren Professor of physics Michael Graf is drawn to complicated materials the way some people are drawn to complicated relationships. Simple is "boring." Ordinary superconductors are "predictable." Give him a chunk of uranium platinum 3, one of the most complex and mysterious substances known to physics, and he will romance it--put up with its fickle magnetic states, bring it little gifts of precious metals, follow it around the world if need be--until he has finally seen into its soul. After seven years of such attentions, he has caught a few good glimpses.

Technically, uranium platinum 3, or UPt3, is a low-temperature superconductor; its ability to carry an electric current with no loss of energy kicks in when the metal is chilled to half a degree above absolute zero (zero degrees Kelvin, or minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit). But practically speaking, UPt3 is in a superconducting class by itself. "It has a signature that says, ‘I am different,'" Graf explains in a north-of-Boston accent that has been paved over by years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MIT but still marks him as one of the very few condensed-matter physicists to hail from the city of Revere (he says "signatcha").

"First, unlike all the superconductors that have been studied since 1911, this one seems to rely on magnetism." In other words, it is because of magnetic fluctuations within the metal that electrons are thought to pair up in the unique way that produces superconducting. "Second, UPt3 is the only known material that switches between two different kinds of superconducting, each the result of a different magnetic state." Nobody understands this teeming ecosystem of magnetic forces or how it produces superconductivity. Graf's goal is to come as close as humanly possible to doing so.

UPt3 has driven many a good physicist to distraction. Although 15 years ago it was the material to study, "it proved to be an intimidating field in many regards, from the practical to the abstract," Graf says. As dead ends multiplied, researchers drifted off to other pursuits. Graf and his international collaborators--at the University of Amsterdam, the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, the Institute Laue-Langevin in France, and Los Alamos National Laboratory--are part of the hard core that remains. Together, Graf says, they "tweak and push and pull on that material under different conditions," in search of clues to its structure. "We keep at it because we are curious, in both senses of the word."

So let us find out what Mike Graf can tell the uninitiated about his wonder metal. How can superconductivity arise from magnetism? "It's very complicated." Can he explain the two types of superconducting? "No." Can he at least try? "I almost cannot describe it. It involves the wave functions of multiple triplet states."

Graduate student Cyril Opeil, SJ (left), with Professor Michael Graf at the helium refrigeratorGraf has an easier time illuminating his methods. He explains that he cools down samples of UPt3 and warms them up, subjects them to strong magnetic fields, and uses a wide variety of tools to measure different thermal, magnetic, and electrical properties. Sometimes he probes the sample with a stream of muons, fundamental particles that have a north and a south pole like a bar magnet. As a muon decays (its average life span is two-millionths of a second), it emits a type of particle that can reveal how strong the magnetic field was at the spot the muon occupied in the material. Where do the muons come from? "Switzerland." Graf has a joke answer for everything, but that is not one of them; the technique requires a trip to the huge atom smasher at the Paul Scherrer Institute near Baden. "We sit at the cyclotron with our sample, and we collect a million muon deaths. We're like the coroner doing a postmortem to find out what happened at the scene of the crime."

In his Higgins laboratory, Graf and his students take measurements that are more amenable to a small space. "We put in a little bit of heat, and that tells us how the energy distributes itself. You see a characteristic change when the material becomes superconducting: The amount of heat it absorbs drops way down." Molly Scannell '04, who spent the summer working at CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Geneva, does most of the thermal experiments. Another type of experiment--measuring the effects of magnetic fields produced by the lab's extremely powerful superconducting magnet--is the province of a Ph.D. student, Cyril Opeil, SJ. Most of that work takes place inside a helium refrigerator buried beneath the floor of Graf's lab.

Through such techniques, Graf has teased important findings from his inscrutable material. "We've had some, um, successes," he says with alarming modesty for someone whose articles pepper the journals of the American Physical Society. One of those successes arose from an approach that is unique to Graf's lab: lacing UPt3 with other metals to observe their effects on the material's delicate balance of forces. "It turns out that if you gradually substitute very small amounts of palladium for some of the platinum, you can make this thing stop superconducting," Graf says. "And the moment superconductivity disappears --pop-- the system becomes an ordered magnetic material, an ‘antiferromagnet,' with a staggered north-south, north-south arrangement of poles. That's an important clue. It tells you that unless the poles are fluctuating a bit, you're not going to get superconductivity."

In a paper now under review, Graf demonstrates that certain chemical changes to the material can create islands of superconductivity. "So you've got little blobs within the metal that are becoming magnetic, and little blobs that are staying superconducting. Very interesting stuff."

For all his efforts, Graf isn't sure he will ever really know UPt3. "What we hope to do is create a full experimental picture of all the different things that happen within this system--to put together a broad enough package of measurements, under different kinds of conditions, that we can begin to predict its behavior. But the system could turn out to be just too complex." Such uncertainties do not faze him. "The physicist," he says, cutting to the heart of his science, "is first interested in knowing that the world works not because there are little gnomes throwing magic dust from behind trees, but because there's a logical pattern. We like to think that if we work hard enough, and are smart enough and diligent enough, we can find the pattern."

Lab 510: Brain food

Brain researcher Thomas Seyfried's biology laboratory Aggressive brain cancer is one of medicine's most dreaded diagnoses. Even if the tumor is operable, and even if surgery is followed by radiation treatment, or by chemotherapy (which, because of the blood-brain barrier, is not always an option), the patient's life expectancy typically ranges from a few months to a few years. Medical progress has been slow. "We might have better radiation zappers, but basically the treatment is the same today as it was 60 years ago, and the end result is the same," says professor of biology Thomas Seyfried, visibly perturbed by this injustice. Seyfried is wiry and intense, and the peaks and valleys of his rapid speech tend to be alpine. Leaning across his desk for the summation, he says emphatically, "There simply is no effective therapy."

But Seyfried is working on one. Going beyond the well-accepted idea that low-calorie diets can help prevent cancer, he and his lab team are studying such diets as a means to treat cancer--especially brain cancer, which may be uniquely vulnerable. The researchers have shown that caloric restriction can control brain tumors in mice, and they have a good idea of how it works. As they continue refining their experiments and publishing their results, they are building a scientific case for a treatment that challenges conventional oncology. "We think that these natural therapies--while we're not saying they will cure the disease--will extend longevity and provide a much, much greater quality of life than people experience with chemo and radiation," Seyfried says.

The cancer experiments, funded by the American Institute for Cancer Research, go hand in hand with Seyfried's work on diet as a treatment for epilepsy. On both fronts, the therapies under study tap into the brain's ability to run on either of two different fuels. Ordinarily, brain cells obtain their energy from glucose, the basic sugar to which food is converted in the digestive system. But in times of famine--or fasting or rigorous dieting--the brain switches over to ketone bodies. Those molecules, produced as the liver breaks down fats, contain even more energy than glucose does; they are what powers the heart, in fact. In the case of epilepsy, the switchover to ketones is known to prevent seizures, and Seyfried's research in that area has shed light on the effectiveness of a well-known seizure-blocking regimen, the "ketogenic diet."

For brain cancer cells, the metabolic shift can be lethal. The story of what happens inside the cell is one that Seyfried tells with gusto: "What all brain tumors have in common is that the mitochondria don't work. Mitochondria are the little energy factories that power every mammalian cell, and they become damaged by the mutations in the cell's nucleus. When glucose enters the cell, it gets broken down through a primitive process called glycolysis, which releases a tiny amount of energy. What is supposed to happen next is that the byproducts of glycolysis go through the mitochondria. That's where the big energy comes from. But if you are a cancer cell and your mitochondria are damaged, you have to generate all of your energy from this primitive system, glycolysis, which was one of the first energy systems to evolve in biology.

"Consequently, every tumor cell is a glucose hog. In order to survive and proliferate, it must suck up tremendous amounts of glucose. No matter how much you eat, it's not enough--the tumor needs more. That's why cancer patients get thin. The tumor absolutely cannot survive without glucose. And we can take advantage of that through diet."

At this point in the story, Seyfried's phone rings. Luke is calling from Taiwan. His father-in-law has been diagnosed with brain cancer--what should he do? Seyfried recommends a book called The Ketogenic Diet: A Treatment for Epilepsy and arranges to reconnect.

"Now," Seyfried resumes, "if someone is on a restricted diet, the brain is running mostly on ketone bodies, not glucose. And when ketones enter a cell, they don't go through glycolysis. They bypass that system and go directly into the mitochondria, which turn the ketones into a large amount of energy. So if you're a cancer cell and your mitochondria don't work, and all you have available are ketones, what are you going to do? You're gonna die! Running on ketones, the normal brain cells get superhealthy, while the tumor cells up and die by the millions."

That account is borne out by Seyfried's painstaking research on mice. In a study soon to be published in the British Journal of Cancer, a common type of brain tumor, astrocytoma, was surgically implanted in a strain of mice that respond to many diseases quite similarly to humans. Different groups of mice were fed four different diets: an unrestricted standard diet, a restricted standard diet (with calories cut to 40 percent below normal), an unrestricted ketogenic diet, and a restricted ketogenic diet. The mice on the restricted diets fared dramatically better than the others. Their brain tumors were 80 percent smaller, and the animals appeared in most respects to be perfectly healthy. To Seyfried's surprise, mice studies have also shown that low-calorie diets block the formation of blood vessels in tumors, hastening the cells' death. That is precisely what an emerging class of anti-angiogenic drugs is designed to do--"only our therapies do it for free," says Seyfried.

Buoyed by the results in mice, Seyfried and his team are eager to see their unconventional approach embraced, or at least tested, by the medical establishment. It is a tough sell, of course. "Oncologists have been following the same brain cancer routine for decades, and they're reluctant to change," Seyfried says. "As a result, people like Luke's father-in-law have to learn about this on their own, reading whatever they can lay their hands on." By publishing only in top journals and exposing his work to critical review, Seyfried hopes to make converts in the medical community. "When somebody says, ‘Let's do a clinical trial on a diet therapy,' we'll know we've succeeded."

Physicist David Broido in a common room

Lab 120: The gold rush

In science, the word work is usually synonymous with research, as in "Rutherford's work on the structure of atoms." When professor of physics Hong Ding speaks of his work in the field of superconductivity, he means work in the sense of strenuous, grinding toil and round-the-clock vigils tending experiments that will not wait until morning. "We have a futon in the lab in case someone gets really tired, but I don't encourage people to use it," he says. What drives Ding so relentlessly is his dream of understanding the "deep reasons" that materials become superconducting.

Physicists have known since 1911 that certain metals, among them aluminum and lead, can be made to superconduct--to carry an electric current without generating waste heat--when cooled to a temperature just above absolute zero. Naturally, there is a catch: You need a bulky and expensive liquid-helium refrigeration system--one reason the high-powered magnets in MRI machines are so cumbersome. But in 1986, "high-temperature" superconductors were developed. Suddenly the temperature ceiling was rising past 35, 92, 125, all the way to 138 degrees Kelvin (minus 211 Fahrenheit). The new materials, mostly copper-oxide ceramics, can be cooled by liquid nitrogen, which the scientific literature describes variously as "cheaper than milk" or "cheaper than beer." These have not only opened up uses for superconductors in areas such as power generation and high-end computing; they have also raised the hope that someone, someday, might find a material that superconducts at room temperature, paving the way for levitating trains, desktop MRI scanners, and pocket supercomputers.

Superconductivity arises when electrons join together in pairs. How that is possible, considering that electrons are negatively charged and should therefore repel one another, baffled physicists until 1957. It was then that three American physicists--John Bardeen, Leon Cooper, and Robert Schrieffer--proposed an explanation for the pairing that occurs in low-temperature, or Type I, materials. Their theory, for which a Nobel Prize was awarded in 1972, became known as BCS, after the physicists' initials.

From left: Professors Charles Hoffman, Michael Graf, Thomas Seyfried, Hong Ding

With the caveat that it takes a physicist to understand superconductivity, here is a crude simplification of the BCS theory: As an electron passes through the crystal lattice of a superconductor, it attracts the positively charged atoms around it, causing the lattice to bow inward. The resulting vibration creates a positively charged "trough" that draws the next electron into it. The two electrons are officially paired. For complex reasons, electrons entwined in this manner condense to what is known as a zero-energy state. They can then travel through the lattice without bumping into obstacles that would ordinarily scatter them. That is how a Type I material loses its resistance.

Ding's territory is the newer Type II superconductors, which continue to mystify physicists. "We know the electron pairing is not caused by vibrations in the lattice, like in BCS superconducting," Ding says. "That works only up to 23 degrees K. There's a gold rush on to find a new theory." In fact, he says, mentioning for the third time in a brief while the coveted garland of his field, "The reward will be a Nobel Prize."

In the center of Ding's laboratory sits a large, shiny metal cylinder that looks the way a hot water heater would look if it were made by the Viking Range people. It is with this vacuum chamber that Ding and his eight researchers--a postdoc, three graduate students, and four undergraduates--do most of their prospecting for clues. Their favorite technique has an imposing name, angle-resolved photoelectron spectroscopy. "But I can summarize what we do in one sentence," says Ding, a born explainer. "We use light to kick out an electron from inside a superconductor, and we study the properties of the electron."

With extraordinary patience for a man who never rests, Ding runs through the procedure he and his team follow: First they bake the chamber for several days to remove any trace of moisture that might contaminate the samples. Then they cool it down to 10 degrees K, using a helium refrigerator, and pump the air out to produce a vacuum one-trillionth the pressure of the earth's atmosphere. They place samples of different superconducting materials into the chamber through a kind of airlock. You can see them through portholes in the cylinder--tiny slivers attached to metal pins, all lined up vertically on a rod. The apparatus is capped by a powerful ultraviolet "light bulb" that bombards the samples with photons.

As electron pairs flow through a sample, the photons break them up, sending one of the separated partners caroming into a detector that measures its energy and momentum. Ding already knows the energy and momentum of the photon. So now, by observing its effect on the electron, he can deduce what the electron was doing in its paired state, before it was bumped out of the sample. After many such measurements, taken at many different temperatures, it is possible to build up a profile of the electrons' behavior inside a particular material.

Hong Ding's photoemission chamber (detail) Among the many tantalizing findings to emerge from Ding's research is the discovery that in Type II superconductors the formation of electron pairs and their condensation into a zero-energy state do not happen in one fell swoop, as with Type I materials. The two events occur in separate stages. At certain temperatures, electrons can pair without condensing, in which case the material's resistance drops only slightly. The article containing those observations--one of four accounts by Ding and his colleagues to be published in the journal Nature--became the most cited paper in all of physics for two months running in 1997. It also won Ding a Sloan Research Fellowship.

In Ding's lab, each researcher studies a different superconducting material. Hongbo Yang, a Ph.D. student, is working with a sodium cobalt oxide that was discovered in Japan only last March. It is called an ice superconductor. When the sodium absorbs water, the material expands and becomes superconducting. "No one knows why," says Yang. Another compound the lab has tested, magnesium diboron--which turns out to be a peculiar hybrid of Type I and Type II materials--was not believed to be a superconductor at all until ultrapure samples of it were produced last year.

Pure materials are among the necessities in Ding's quest for a theory of high-temperature superconducting. Another essential item is an extremely powerful UV light source: The stronger the light, the higher the resolution with which electrons can be studied. "We're going to build a new light bulb that's a hundred times more powerful than the current one," Ding says. The bulb's output will rival that of a synchrotron, an enormous apparatus available in a few U.S. labs to which Ding and his team often make extended visits, propping themselves up with endless cans of Mountain Dew over several weeks of 16- and 20-hour days "so as not to waste a single photon."

The new bulb is just the beginning. "Once it's finished, we'll say to NSF"--the National Science Foundation, which is funding most of Ding's research, including the light bulb--"‘Gee, we have the best light source. Can we improve our detector?' In our lab we need what I call the ‘five best': the best light source, the best detector, the best samples, the best vacuum, and the best minds. You've got to be the best to do the best work."

 

David Brittan is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

 

Photos (from top):

 

Graduate student Shancai Wang works with the photoemission chamber in Professor Hong Ding's physics lab.

 

A new Higgins Hall classroom

 

Higgins Hall, west facade, c. 1970 (left) and 2003

 

Graduate student Richard Kao studies yeast in biology lab 490.

 

Lab 160, domain of physicist Zhifeng Ren

 

Graduate student Cyril Opeil, SJ (left), with Professor Michael Graf at the helium refrigerator

 

Brain researcher Thomas Seyfried's biology laboratory

 

Physicist David Broido in a common room

 

From left: Professors Charles Hoffman, Michael Graf, Thomas Seyfried, Hong Ding

 

Hong Ding's photoemission chamber (detail)

 

All photos by Gary Wayne Gilbert

 


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