Our June 21 Laura Heislet, Director of Programming, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) brought to us words and pictures of the vision of the Town Center at the nearly completed Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery.
This remarkable space is designed to be a magnet for visitors and make scientific research accessible. The public and University community will be enticed to come in, learn more about research underway, peer into microscopes at growing cells, relax over coffee and Babcock Hall ice cream. Venues are named after distinguished UW investigators, Hector DeLuca, Steenbock, Aldo Leopold. An intriguing feature will be an atrium with "mesozoic" plants. Another will be an interactive video wall to encourage visitors to get their hands on the exhibits.

The concept of public space to draw in the community appears at Stanford University but there are few other similar academic sites. One unusual feature will be the art - buildings constructed with state funding must allocate a percent to art. Here we can expect multimedia art, not just pretty pictures on walls or sculpture in the courtyard.

The Institutes of Discovery and its first-floor Town Center are a physical and financial partnership of the UW-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Morgridge Institute. On December 2 , 2010 we'll be able to visit.

Thank you, Laura Heisler, for bringing the vision of a vibrant revitalized Wisconsin Idea to us.