A four-story lobby built to emulate a microscope will be the focal point of a new Science and Technology center at the University of San Diego. In a recreation of Theodore Engelmann's 1883 experiment, in which he discovered that blue and red light were most favorable for photosynthesis, a skylight in the lobby will admit light that will be refracted by a prism and lenses intended to represent the optics of a microscope. Beams of light will shine on an artistic interpretation of a glass slide on the second floor.
The $46 million building, to house the departments of biology, physics, chemistry, and marine and environmental sciences, is "very unusual in the way it brings the different groups together," says Rachel Grossman of San Diego design firm Carrier Johnson. Mosaics in the corridor floors will illustrate various images from science--such as the alga Spyrogyra--and the microscope lobby will serve as a "symbol of a moment in scientific history when a single discovery combined biology, chemistry, and physics," she says. Construction is set to begin early next year.
The National Science Teachers Association's site on Theodore Engelmann