"'MIT is a very privileged place in some ways, but with that comes the responsibility to make the resources of this place more accessible to the wider community"It would be great if Harvard had the same interest as MIT in bringing the wonders of science to the general public. One of the most disappointing things in planning for the Harvard Science Complex is that the "exhibition space" that was part of the Science Complex plan last year but has since been eliminated. Harvard's explanation, "We asked the scientists and they weren't sure what to do with it and who would pay for it" seems like a signal that Harvard really has no commitment to the neighborhood and working with people who don't have a Harvard ID.
When Harvard brought Biology Professor Robert Lue to a Task Force meeting a few months ago he was bursting with excitement about bringing science to schoolchildren and the general public.
Here's some of what he said according to the minutes from the May 7 Task Force meeting:
Rob said there is tremendous potential for science education. Many people in the field are now recognizing that how the public learns about science should be part of a larger whole and needs to be a coordinated effort, especially examining how science is taught in elementary schools and high schools.
Rob said many of the scientists, including himself, feel a moral obligation to create open, transparent, and meaningful partnerships with different constituent groups. Rob said that the relationship between Harvard scientists and the Allston community has the potential to be a new model for how institutions can collaborate and provide outreach to their host communities and could set an example for other large research institutes to follow.