International Institute of Nanotechnology
August 16, 2012
Re: Impact of Connectivity of Scientific Efficiency and Effectiveness
It has come to my attention that Northwestern plans to use the old Prentice hospital site as a new research building that would be connected, on most floors, to the Lurie building. I am writing to strongly support this kind of horizontally connected set-up. I run a multi-million dollar research effort that supports a group of over 70 students and postdoctoral fellows on the Evanston campus, and we recently took a similar approach in the design and linking of Ryan and Silverman halls. These buildings house the laboratory space for research groups affiliated with Northwestern’s International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) and Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Institute, among others. I strongly believe that this intimate, horizontal connectivity has made for an effective and efficient laboratory and meeting space allowing easy exchange of people and materials between groups and unencumbered access to shared facilities for the researchers working in these areas. It is my experience that line-of-sight architectural design leads to increased numbers of fruitful and productive interactions amongst the groups and departments sharing the areas.
With the growing interdisciplinary nature of scientific research, these types of open and integrated spaces are essential to drive high-impact accomplishments. Northwestern has a strong tradition of collaboration; indeed, it has been one of the cornerstones of its success. It is important that we continue to foster and promote this type of culture through intelligent design of campus workspaces. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support the plan to connect the old Prentice hospital site to the Lurie building.
Chad A. Mirkin, Ph.D.
Director, International Institute for Nanotechnology
George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Medicine
Professor of Materials Science & Engineering
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering
Northwestern University Chemistry Department
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, Illinois 60208
International Institute for Nanotechnology website: www.nanotechnology.northwestern.edu
Mirkin Group website: www.chem.northwestern.edu/~mkngrp