The Oberlin Science Center houses the biology, chemistry,
neuroscience, and physics departments. (Geology is located
in the nearby Carnegie Building.) The architecture was designed
specifically to accommodate contemporary methods in science
education. Everything is interconnected, promoting what Danforth
Professor of Biology David Benzing has called the "culture
of science," an environment in which communication across
disciplines happens frequently and in which scientists work
collaboratively in research teams.
discipline has its own area of the building, with associated
faculty offices and laboratories, classrooms, instructional
laboratories, student-research labs, and seminar rooms. Common
areasthe science library, a first-floor atrium, a second-floor
lounge, and two computer labstie the disciplines together.
The structure makes it easy for faculty members and students
from all departments to meet and mingle with one another.
The building design also facilitates cost-effective sharing
of instrumentation: the neuroscience and biology departments
both use Oberlin's confocal microscope, for example, and the
scanning electron microscope is shared among the physics,
biology, and geology departments. Placement of instrumentation
within the building has also been carefully considered, so
that needed equipment is adjacent to related student and faculty
The building contains three lecture halls. The West Auditorium,
a two-story space that is the largest hall on campus, is used
by all departments in the center. The Norman C. Craig Lecture
Hall, a round lecture hall that is one of the most distinctive
spaces on campus, is used primarily by the physics and chemistry
departments. The physics department also uses the third lecture
hall, located on the second floor of the Wright Laboratory
While used primarily by the departments it houses, the Oberlin
Science Center is open to all departments in the College.
Many students come into the building for lectures or films
in the West Auditorium. And the building's central location
on campus, inviting common spaces, large lecture halls, and
beautiful science library attract people from all over the
campus to study or relax.