Built in 1973, the science center was designed by Josep Lluis Sert and partially financed by an anonymous gift from Edwin Land, inventor of the Polaroid camera. Some think the building may have been designed to resemble one of Land’s early models. Can you see it?
The Science Center houses the History of Science, Mathematics, and Statistics Departments; the Cabot Science Library; the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning; the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments and teaching laboratories for the chemistry, physics, biology, and other sciences.
Sections of the Harvard Mark I computer are also on display in the lobby. A moth in one of the Mark I’s switches inspired the common computer term “debugging.”
Underneath the Science center (though not connected to it) is a chilled water plant that cools much of Harvard’s campus north of and including the Science Center itself.