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David Bricker
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, October 15, 2007

Simon opens, and IU Bloomington celebrates the wonders of science

Oct. 15, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three years after its construction began on the Indiana University Bloomington campus, Simon Hall officially opens its doors with a dedication ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 16. The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. outside Simon Hall, 915. E. 3rd St. (north of Myers Hall and west of Jordan Hall).

"This new building stands as a monument to the exciting possibilities of interdisciplinary science," said IU President Michael McRobbie. "It will facilitate collaboration between biologists, chemists, physicists, geneticists and others who are pioneers in the genomics revolution and are poised to make the next great scientific discoveries. It will bring together people to harness the tremendous power of the human mind in the interest of improving people's lives and creating a better world."

Simon Hall

Newly completed Simon Hall

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Eli Lilly and Company Chairman and CEO Sidney Taurel will provide keynote remarks, followed by presentations by President McRobbie, IU Bloomington Provost Karen Hanson, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bennett Bertenthal and others.

IUB scientists will conduct their own sort of celebration, too: A free symposium for non-scientists earlier in the day will introduce audiences to the fascinating life sciences research that will occur every day atop Simon Hall's benches and under its fume hoods. More information about the symposium in Whittenberger Auditorium appears at the end of this release.

Simon Hall is a major accomplishment for the hundreds of IU faculty and staff who contributed in some way to its creation. The science building began as little more than pencil scribbles but culminated in a 141,084-gross-square-foot, technologically impressive structure that will augment the university's efforts to expand its life sciences research operations and support the university's economic development initiatives.

"We are confident that the new breakthroughs that will occur in Simon Hall -- and the quality research space the building provides -- will enable IU to position itself as a leader in the development of life-saving and life-prolonging technologies," McRobbie said. "It will stimulate the growth of our local and regional economy, and it will ensure that IU continues to attract the best students, scholars and scientists from around the globe."

In his former role as IU Vice President for Research, McRobbie was one of Simon's most vociferous supporters. McRobbie helped convince IU trustees and state legislators that IU Bloomington's contributions to the economic development of the state would emanate from discoveries in basic science, and that an expansion of the university's activities in that area would benefit all.

Former College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kumble Subbaswamy, IUB biogeochemist Lisa Pratt, IUB chemist and METACyt CEO Ted Widlanski, IUB chemist David Clemmer, IUB biologists Elizabeth Raff and Jeff Palmer, and many other respected IUB scientists were integral to pushing the concept forward, and also helped rally support for Simon Hall among science and non-science faculty alike.

"Simon Hall, beautifully designed for multi-disciplinary research, will make possible increased collaboration among our communities of scientists, including both faculty and students," IUB Provost Hanson said. "The research space it provides is absolutely crucial. Simon Hall also sits beautifully on its site, and the entire campus can be grateful for this wonderful new building."

Allocating space in Simon Hall was a great challenge. Offices and lab space were primarily given to biologists, microbiologists, molecular biologists, geneticists, analytical chemists and biochemists, and biophysicists. The Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science and the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation will be given space for conferencing and offices.

Simon Hall

Simon is the first of three planned structures dedicated to multidisciplinary scientific research

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Originally called Multidisciplinary Science Building Phase I (MSB I), Simon Hall was named for members of the Simon family in recognition of their generous $9 million gift.

Two more multidisciplinary science buildings are in the works. The construction of a second multidisciplinary science building, MSB II, began with a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 26. The scientific fields represented in the building are not yet finalized, but it is expected most of MSB II's future residents will come from neuroscience and environmental science, drawing faculty from the departments of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Geological Sciences and Geography, and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. A third building, MSB III, is still in planning phases.

"Simon Hall is a symbol of IU's deep commitment and dedication to interdisciplinary science. The completion of this building is but a beginning to our investment in the life sciences," said College Dean Bennett Bertenthal. "These new interdisciplinary science buildings are essential for attracting the very best scientists and students in this increasingly competitive market."

Simon Hall integrates cleverly hidden symbols representing the work that will take place inside, and at the same time pays tribute to the Bloomington community's famous limestone industry. Conceived by faculty, translated into clay by sculptor Amy Brier and carved by Indiana Limestone Co. Inc. artisans, "The Chemistry of Life" adorns the entrance archways of the Linda and Jack Gill Conference Center. Passers-by should look for RNA, the unfairly maligned bacterium E. coli, the paisley-like protist Paramecium, maize, mice, and fruit flies.

Flad & Associates, in Madison, Wis., designed the building and its landscape in accordance with guidelines set by the University Architect's Office, New York-based University Masterplanner John Belle, IU administrators and faculty members. Simon Hall forms a new quad area with neighboring buildings, including a grassy knoll area that designers hope will attract readers and lunch breakers alike.

For more information about the ceremony or symposium, please contact David Bricker, University Communications, at 812-856-9035 or



Life Sciences in the 21st Century: From Discovery to Treatment
Tuesday October 16, 2007
9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Whittenberger Auditorium, Indiana Memorial Union
Indiana University Bloomington

Moderator: Bennett Bertenthal, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

"Gene Transfer Nature's Way, or, Why does NIH Fund Research on Plant Genome Evolution?"
Jeff Palmer (IUB Department of Biology)

"Utilizing Interdisciplinary Science to Probe New Frontiers in Research"
Carl Bauer (IUB Department of Biology)

"New Biochemical Mediators of Pain and Inflammation"
J. Michael Walker (IUB Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences)

"Targeting the Cell Division Machinery for Drug Development"
Claire Walczak (Medical Sciences Program, IU Bloomington)

"Marine Natural Products Chemistry: Inspiration for Innovation in Organic Chemistry"
David Williams (IUB Department of Chemistry)

Each talk will last approximately 15 minutes.