ASU's new science building will push boundaries of research, exploration

September 19, 2012

ASU’s newest science building – the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV (ISTB 4), on the Tempe campus – is designed to advance research and discovery, and to encourage children to explore their futures as scientists and engineers. The building will do this through a mixture of high-tech labs, interactive environments and open spaces that will allow the public to witness research and technology advancement as it happens.

A formal opening of ISTB 4 took place Sept. 19. ISTB 4 Download Full Image

The seven-story, 293,000-square-foot building is designed to provide flexible laboratories for ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), ASU’s Security and Defense Systems Initiative, and research laboratories and centers of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

The building provides ample laboratory space –166 lab modules with wet and dry labs and a rooftop laboratory – and an inviting public space, in addition to offices, collaboration spaces and meeting rooms for faculty and staff.

“This new facility will not only offer state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, but will provide a unique collaborative environment that is designed to foster large, team-driven projects in areas such as earth and space exploration, security and defense systems research and renewable energy,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president with ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development (OKED). The office advances research, innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development activities for ASU.

ISTB 4’s design embodies the transdisciplinary spirit of ASU, accommodating research programs from science and engineering, and continuously encouraging interaction of both worlds.

“The SESE faculty and research staff are well known for their scientific research, but many in the ASU and Phoenix communities are less aware of their well-deserved international reputation for engineering, particularly designing and deploying advanced instruments to enable scientific exploration of Earth and other worlds,” said Kip Hodges, director of SESE, part of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “Sophisticated laboratories for instrument development in ISTB 4 will further increase ASU’s leadership, and we have designed several of these laboratories so that the public can watch technologies being created.”

“We encourage multiple faculty with compatible research agendas to use the major laboratories in a collaborative way, reinforcing the transdisciplinary spirit of ASU,” added Hodges.

One of the first engineering challenges for SESE in ISTB 4 is OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES), which will be the first major scientific instrument completely designed and built at ASU for a NASA space mission. Viewing windows will allow visitors to see into the environmentally controlled facilities where the OTES instrument is being built.

For ASU engineering, ISTB 4 will help with facing today’s challenges and building a better society for tomorrow.

“This signature facility reflects our core research themes of energy, health, security, sustainability and education through the five main engineering centers housed in the building,” said Paul Johnson, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “The interdisciplinary environment fosters close collaboration among SESE and Fulton Engineering researchers as we pursue complementary efforts to advance the technology of tomorrow and provide practical solutions to real-world challenges today.”

In addition to complex labs, the new building boasts a five-story, naturally lit atrium (starting at the third floor) offering a series of “living rooms in the sky” for scientists and engineers to meet. It also has world-class conference facilities and first and second floor public outreach spaces designed to communicate the excitement of scientific research and the technologies that enable it.

First floor facilities feature digital media, public lectures, visible laboratories and interactive displays. A focal point of the building is the Marston Exploration Theater.

“We all wonder what future scientific innovation will bring and are fortunate to now have a center that invites the public to witness and be participants in science and discovery happening on our own doorsteps,” said Robert Page, vice provost and dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “A special gift from Carolyn ‘Susie’ Marston in memory of her husband Barret is the 238-seat theater for high-definition documentaries, 3-D planetarium-style shows and media-rich space for teaching undergraduates. It will touch people of all ages.”

Another highlight is the 4,300-square-foot “Gallery of Scientific Exploration,” outfitted with kiosk-style interactive exhibits and large-format, high-definition monitors that display video from Earth-observing satellites and robotic probes of other worlds.

On the second floor is ASU’s Center for Meteorite Studies, relocated and expanded for greater public access, which features interactive displays, touchable specimens and a video display of most of the collection’s specimens. Also on this floor are a variety of learning spaces designed to stimulate discovery and exploration of Earth and space science that will be used specifically for outreach to pre-college students.

“Research is vital to the health of our economy and our society, so it’s very important that we not only advance it, but we do it in such a way as to generate excitement for future generations of scientists and engineers,” said Panchanathan. “This facility is poised to advance new technologies, explore our world and encourage our children to be participants in this exciting endeavor.”

Sundt Construction Inc., served as the construction manager at risk for the ISTB4 project working with the design teams of HDR and Ehrlich Architects.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Inaugural Cronkite Day celebration set for October

September 20, 2012

Arizona State University journalism alumni are invited back to the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication for the school’s first-ever large-scale alumni celebration Oct. 26.

Conceived and designed by the Cronkite School National Board of Advisors, Cronkite Day is an all-day festival of professional, social, career development and networking opportunities held at the Cronkite building on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Download Full Image

“I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor the legacy of Walter Cronkite or the great strides and accomplishments made by the school that bears his name than our first Cronkite Day event,” said Craig A. Newman, chairman of the National Board of Advisors. “We live in an era when journalism’s role, methods and innovations are constantly reinvented, challenged and redefined. The Cronkite School has taken a leadership role in this global conversation, with many alumni who are industry leaders returning to campus for Cronkite Day to share their experiences, challenges and visions for the future of media.”

Headlining the event is a series of showcase panels featuring alumni on topics ranging from coverage of the 2012 elections, the impact of social media and international news coverage to public relations in the digital age and the state of local TV news. Alumni also will have the opportunity to talk with current Cronkite students and see their work in state-of-the-art newsrooms, TV studios, digital classrooms and innovation laboratories around the building.

Cronkite faculty and staff will be on hand to talk with alumni about career development opportunities, including the Cronkite New Media Academy, the Office of Career Services, the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism and graduate programs. In addition, alumni will be able to get feedback on their writing, photography, video and resumes with top Cronkite alumni and faculty in one-on-one settings.

Other Cronkite Day activities will include behind-the-scenes tours of the award-winning, LEED-certified Cronkite building with the building’s architects and a happy hour reception at a local restaurant.

“Cronkite Day is an unprecedented opportunity for Cronkite alumni from around the world to reconnect with old friends and classmates and favorite professors, make new friends and professional connections and learn about what’s happening at the school,” said Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan. “We look forward to welcoming our graduates to this unique celebration.”

The event comes the day before ASU’s annual Homecoming festivities and football game. The following week, the Cronkite School will host the 29th annual Cronkite Award Luncheon, this year honoring NBC Sports’ Bob Costas, on Oct. 30.