Crocker Science Center

Crocker Science Center


The University of Utah dedicated its new Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center (CSC) in 2018. Led by a $10 million donation from Gary and Ann Crocker, the U completely renovated the 83-year-old George Thomas Building on Presidents Circle. The CSC was originally a library for the U, before becoming the home of the Natural History Museum of Utah from 1968-2011. The CSC is the heart of the College of Science, housing research, teaching, and support for the College.

During the groundbreaking, former dean Henry White stated, “This modern science hub is ready to serve new generations of students, faculty and staff at the University of Utah. We are extremely grateful for Gary and Ann’s pioneering support for this building to become a world-class science education and research center on campus.”

Research in the CSC draws faculty and students from all four departments in the College – Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics & Astronomy – to study the basic machinery of living cells. In addition to a fully equipped, world-class biotechnology incubator, the newly renovated Crocker Science Center houses two large lecture halls, teaching laboratories, classrooms, and a host of research programs from the U.‘s College of Science.

The rooms are designed with glass walls to serve as a living exhibit of modern science and thus to encourage public viewing and visual participation. Two Creek Coffee is also found on the second floor, and is very popular with the COS to grab a cup of coffee and snacks before heading to class or finding a quiet space/classroom to study.

The CSC is also home to the Henry Eyring Center for Cell and Genome Science, the U.’s Center for Science and Math Education, and the COS Dean's office and staff.

Trivia

  • During renovations to make the Crocker Science Center, workers found human skeletal remains. Scientists determined that these were most likely artifacts of the University of Utah School of Medicine between 1905 and 1920. The bones recovered during this project were donated to the Department of Anthropology to be used as part of their human osteology teaching collection.
  • The structure in the atrium is called “Life of Tree” and was designed by Bill Washabaugh. He says,  “it was inspired by the biological Tree of Life which highlights the underlying connection between the parts of our natural world. It is the link between patterns across seemingly disparate disciples.” It depicts a Pinyon Pine Tree reflected in water, hence the upside down nature of the sculpture. This reflection also symbolizes the metaphor that all scientific theories are a reflection of the underlying reality. In addition, the kinetic “Life of Tree” is solar powered much like a real tree.
  • Throughout the building, numerous areas of exposed structure are labeled with placards and diagrams—serving as in situ learning exhibits for students to discover more about the art and science of structural engineering.
  • A newly acquired $5.9 million high-resolution cryo-transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM) was installed in December 2017 and is one focal point of research instrumentation in the building. The cryo-TEM will allow researchers to observe and construct images of three-dimensional structures of important biomolecules with atomic resolution, providing insights into their biological functions in humans.
  • The dinosaur heads in the Ririe Room are a nod to its history as the former Utah Museum of Natural History.

 

Fletcher Building

South Physics Building

Skaggs Building

Thatcher Building

James Talmage Building

Widtsoe Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

South Biology

 

Thatcher Building

THATCHER BUILDING


  • Completed: 2013
  • Named for: Lawrence Thatcher, Alumni and Friend of the Chemistry Department

A crowd of well-wishers gathered on Wednesday, March 13, to celebrate the opening of the Thatcher Building for Biological and Biophysical Chemistry. The building is named in honor of the Lawrence E. and Helen F. Thatcher family, whose generous gift made the new facility possible. Located adjacent to the Henry Eyring Chemistry Building, the five-story structure provides space for much-needed research labs for graduate students—those future science professionals who are working in critical chemistry disciplines and will help shape the future of the Department of Chemistry.

The second level of the building will enhance the training of undergraduate students in the latest techniques and tools in chemistry research. It also houses the Curie Club, established in 2011, one hundred years after Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The club inspires and supports women in science, and provides space to host activities ranging from undergraduate experiments in the adjacent laboratories, to informal outreach to school children and scout groups.

The top floor of the building features a 100-seat seminar room and reception area with sweeping views of the Salt Lake Valley.

On the west side of the building is a stunning, four-story glass wall with a design of the periodic table etched in the glass—the large symbols are the first thing students, faculty, staff and visitors will see as they enter campus from the Stadium TRAX station and parking lot. The iconic “window” makes a strong statement that chemistry ranks high on this campus.

In addition to making the lead gift for the new building, the Thatcher Family endowed a Thatcher Company Scholarship last year, and in a surprise announcement at the dedication, President Pershing announced an additional gift from Lawrence, Helen and Tom Thatcher—a new Presidential Endowed Chair in Biological Chemistry. President Pershing was noticeably pleased to announce that the inaugural chair is a woman—Cynthia Burrows—a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and recipient of a University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award. Burrows will have laboratories located in the new building and will provide leadership for future generations of students and faculty in biological chemistry.

 

Crocker Science Center

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

Henry Eyring Building

Henry Eyring Lecture Hall

The Henry Eyring Chemistry Building

  • Completed: 2004
  • Named for: Henry Eyring
  • Architect: Pollard Architects

The Henry Eyring Building (HEB) is named after Henry Eyring, a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Metallurgy (1966-1981) and a former dean of the Graduate School (1946-1966). Dr. Eyring received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and taught in Wisconsin, Berlin, and Berkeley before making his way to Utah in 1946. He was a former president of the American Chemical Society (1963), and the U still has an active ACS student chapter.

The east entrance of HEB

HEB is where most of the large lecture chemistry classes occur, such as general chemistry, organic chemistry, and quantum chemistry. O-chem labs are on the 4th floor and gen chem labs are in the basement. Near the gen chem labs is the larger stockroom for research labs, where liquid nitrogen and dry ice are stored.

There is a popular study area near the gen chem labs, and TAs are available to answer questions. The HEB is also where many faculty have their offices, including the chair of the chemistry department.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

Cowles Building

LEROY E. COWLES BUILDING


  • Completed: 1901
  • Named for: Leroy E. Cowles, President 1941-46
  • Architect: Richard K.A. Kletting
  • Style: Second Renaissance Revival
  • Materials: Brick and Sandstone

The Cowles building housed the original library of the University until 1913, when the collection was moved to the Park Building. The Liberal Arts Department then took the place of the library. In 1957 this building housed the Mathematics Department, and in 1976, it became the Communication Building.

Of the first three University of Utah buildings constructed, this one is the least altered, both inside and out. The entrance, on the west side, has two columns with unusual capitals, which support a portico in front of the double arched doorway. Like its companion, the James E. Talmage Building, the entrance is placed asymmetrically on the facade.

 

There is a loft on the 4th floor which serves as the graduate student offices and study spaces. It's one of the quietest buildings on campus with the most study spaces - both private study rooms and tons of big open work spaces. It's also the closest building to the Union Food Court for when students need a break!

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

Skaggs Building

Aline W. Skaggs BUILDING


Aline Wilmot Skaggs (1926-2015)

Located immediately east of the South Biology Building, the Aline W. Skaggs building was built on the site of the old gymnasium building, later known as the Dance Building. Also demolished for the construction was a small brick building that formerly housed the University seismograph and a small, wooden ex-Army building moved to the site following WWII. James Ehleringer was the department chair at the time and instrumental in overseeing the project.

The building is named for Aline Wilmot Skaggs, a philanthropist whose aim was to alleviate human suffering. The ALSAM Foundation is named in honor of L.S. ”Sam” Aline’s husband, and is still the support of a variety of causes and organizations. In addition to its signature donation to the Aline W. Skaggs Biology Building (ASB), the Foundation has made significant donations to the University of Utah, The Scripps Research Institute, numerous colleges of pharmacy across the Western United States, and many other organizations.

Often credited as the father of the modern super drug-store chain, Mr. Skaggs took over his family’s Idaho grocery store business after his father’s death in 1950. Mr. Skaggs grew the business from a regional industry leader into American Stores, which at one time was the third largest food and drug chain in the country.

Mr. Skaggs died in 2013 at the age of 89. Aline, a Boise native who loved animals—especially her beloved poodles and pet deer “Lafena,” as well as horses—was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utah in 1990. She is remembered by her four children as an excellent golfer, an avid bridge player, an outstanding cook, one who loved reading, and enjoyed country music, especially her favorite, the gospel-infused The Oakridge Boys. She passed away in 2015.

Detail of glass window in ASB cell bridge.

"This building has the best coffee shop on campus. The shop is called Brio and is student-owned."

Though designed primarily for research, the new building includes two large lecture halls, the largest is where the Frontiers of Science, the University's longest-running lecture series, is regularly staged.

"The best place to study is a quiet, sunny, area called the “cell bridge” which links ASB to the South Biology Building.  Students are able to write with dry-erase markers on whiteboards and on the windows of the bridge."

 

Trivia

  • The windows of the cell bridge between South Biology and ASB are actual images of plant cells.
  • When neurobiologist and former Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair Sophie Caron first arrived in 2015 as assistant professor at U Biology, her lab was set up in the ASB. Some of her equipment was so large and so heavy that workers had to dismantle some of the intricate windows of the "cell bridge" to lift the equipment to the second floor.
  • In 2020 both of the lecture halls, 210 and 220 were re-designed and re-furbished with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment which allows for a hybrid participation of seminars and other lecturers both in-person and digitally through remote broadcast.
  • In Fall Semester 2021 the first in-person seminars at the School reconvened since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the newly-retrofitted lecture halls, providing socially-distanced seating and access for tuning in remotely.

 

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

South Biology

South Biology BUILDING


  • Completed: 1967
  • Architect: William F. Thomas

The South Biology building was first proposed when the U was home to the controversial Institute of Environmental Biological Research, in partnership with the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground for the purpose of developing chemical, biological and radioactive weapons (CBR). The National Institutes of Health provided funding for its construction, based on the Biology Division’s disease surveillance work at Dugway and other health-related duties being conducted at the U. After the 1960s, the building was no longer a partner with the NIH for CBR production.

South Biology then became the catalyst for a strong new emphasis in cellular and molecular microbiology research at the U, including the hiring of Mario Capecchi, the Nobel Laureate whose original lab was in the building.  In 2018, the department of Biology was renamed the School of Biological Sciences, to better encapsulate the focus on the breadth of the discipline, ranging from cell biology to ecology.

The South Bio building houses the Biology Learning Center (BLC), where students can receive tutoring. There are great places to study throughout the building, and you're only an indoor bridge away from Brio Coffee in ASB.

Currently, the South Biology Building houses a multitude of research labs, teaching labs, tutoring from the BLC, and the administration of the School of Biological Sciences. The basement has an anatomy lab and a vivarium of research birds, reptiles, and more. There’s a greenhouse filled with research plants and a pigeon coop on the roof.

Nearby to South Bio is Building 44, home to BioKids, the child care center for College of Science faculty, staff and students. The 1945 building was originally home to Student Health Services and was built using federal grant money and money through the Federal Works Agency post World War II. The building was designed to care for students too ill to stay in their "lodgings" but not ill enough for hospitalization. It was one of only three permanent structures erected on campus in the 1940s and is the only building on campus planned and completed during the War.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

Fletcher Building

James Fletcher BUILDING


The James Fletcher Building is home to the Physics & Astronomy department. It was built on the site of an old observatory in the 1960s. It is named for James C. Fletch, the 8th President of the University of Utah (1964-1971). After being president of the University of Utah, James Fletcher served as the 4th and 7th Administrator of NASA. He was responsible for the early planning of the Space Shuttle program, and later for its recovery and return to flight after the Space Shuttle Challenger accident.

The main lecture hall (JFB 101) in Fletcher is named after J. Irvin Sweigart. Sweigart joined the physics department and during his 57 years of teaching at the university, it is estimated that he taught over 40,000 students. His portrait hangs in the lecture hall.

The Physics library on the second floor is a great place to study with public computers available for any student to use.

Fletcher is the heart of the Physics & Astronomy department, and is where most of the physics clubs meet. The physics labs are on the first floor and the second floor has several open areas for students to study.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

Widtsoe Building

JOHN A. WIDTSOE BUILDING


  • Completed: 1901
  • Named for: John A. Widtsoe, President 1916-1921
  • Architect: Richard K.A. Kletting
  • Style: Second Renaissance Revival
  • Materials: Brick and Sandstone

The Widtsoe building is one of the oldest buildings on campus. It was nearly destroyed by fire on December 19, 1901, but was restored in 1902. Widtsoe was originally the Physical Science Building, but was remodeled in 1976  to house the Mathematics Department.

John Widstoe was President of the U from 1916-1921, and also wrote the laws and by-laws of the first University Constitution.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

South Physics Building

James Talmage Building

South Physics Building

South Physics Building


South Physics Observatory

The  South Physics Building was built in 1930. It was originally named the Engineering Hall but was changed to the South Physics Building in 1966. In 1967, an observatory dome was built on the South Physics Building roof. This dome now resides in the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex.

In 2001, the South Physics Observatory added a new observatory dome and was updated with new equipment through a donation from the Willard L. Eccles Foundation. Until recently, the South Physics Building was the center for many physics labs that are required for multiple majors on campus.

Currently the South Physics Building is the home of the South Physics Observatory and AstronUmers headquarters. The South Physics Observatory normally holds weekly Star Parties with their multiple telescopes and the outreach group AstronUmers use this observatory and other physics and astronomy demonstrations to students from across the state. It also contains multiple research labs, offices, a physics graduate student lounge, and a large computer lab.

Star Parties at the South Physics Observatory is a super fun activity to do with friends or a date. The astronomers allow you to look into the telescopes, ask as many questions as you want, and they take suggestions of objects to look at. Definitely one of the most unique experiences you can have at the U!

Even if Star Parties aren’t being held, the South Physics Observatory still does outreach through Facebook lives, lectures, and other fun astronomy posts! Check them out here.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

James Talmage Building

James Talmage Building

James talmage BUILDING


  • Completed: 1902
  • Named for: James Talmage
  • Architect: Richard K.A. Kletting
  • Nicknames: "JTB"

James E. Talmage-scholar, scientist, educator, author, and church leader, was born in England and came to Utah when he was ten years old. He earned the A.B degree at Lehigh University and the Ph.D at Illinois Wesleyan University. For his work in chemistry and geology he was elected to membership in the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He gave vigorous leadership to the University as Professor of metallurgy and biology, as Deseret professor of geology and as the University’s second president from 1894 to 1897. His major educational concern was to build a sound system of teaching for the people of Utah who, in the 1880’s were still somewhat remote from the established centers of learning, and to incorporate into the University curriculum the expanding body of scientific knowledge.

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Talmage is well-known as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve church leadership where he served from 1911 until his death in 1933. He is also well-known as author of the book "Jesus the Christ," among other Mormon theological tomes.

The land on which this building stands was deeded to the University during President Talmage’s administration. Construction of the building, to be known as the Museum, was begun in 1900, but so many new buildings were going up in Salt Lake City that skilled laborers and quality brick and stone were in short supply. The building was not completed until late in 1902.

The medical school took over use of the building from 1905-1920. In 1959 it was changed to the biology building to accommodate classrooms for a growing student population. Then in 1976 the building was renamed the James E. Talmage building in honor of the former university president. It is located in President’s Circle and the building is still used by the School of Biological Sciences , home of the James E. Talmage Presidential Endowed Chair.

Crocker Science Center

Thatcher Building

Henry Eyring Building

Cowles Building

Skaggs Building

South Biology

Fletcher Building

Widtsoe Building

South Physics Building