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Scientific Discovery

Toll Science Center

Welcome

Home to the John S. Toll Science Center, the Decker Laboratory Center, and Dunning Hall, the Toll Science Center complex is the heart of scientific research and discovery on campus. 

The science facility is named for College President John S. Toll, a noted physicist who served the institution from 1995 until 2005. The John S. Toll Science Center is a 45,000 square foot, state-of-the-art classroom, office, and laboratory complex. The facility houses chemistry and biology labs, a 94-seat lecture hall, an environmental classroom, two seminar rooms, a penthouse greenhouse, and a dramatic three-story glass atrium. The atrium connects to the newly renovated Dunning Hall, and the Alonzo G. Decker Jr. Laboratory Center.

 

Upcoming Events

April 22nd, 2014

  • Image preview 6:00pm: Trashed
    Jeremy Irons stands on a beach beside the ancient Lebanese city of Sidon. Above him towers a mountain of rubbish-a pullulating eyesore of medical waste, household trash, toxic fluids and dead animals-the result of thirty years of consumption by just one small city out of how many in the world? As the day’s new consignments are tipped on top, debris tumbles off the side and into the blue of the Mediterranean. Surrounded by a vast reach of plastic bottles, a forlorn Jeremy Irons stares at the horizon. “Appalling,” he mutters.

    In the new docu-feature TRASHED, a Blenheim Films production, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady (Madam and the Dying Swan), which was selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival, Irons sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution. This is a meticulous, brave investigative journey that takes Irons (and us) from skepticism to sorrow and from horror to hope. Brady’s narrative is vividly propelled by an original score created by Academy Award winning composer Vangelis.

    http://www.trashedfilm.com/

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    Students in the sciences presented their research to faculty, students, and families during Fall Family Weekend.
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    As part of Alumni Weekend, classes beyond 1962 gathered for a seated dinner in McLain Atrium in the John S. Toll Science Center.
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    Students were inducted into Beta Beta Beta (Tri Beta), the honor and professional society for students of the biological sciences.
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    STEM students from Kent County Middle School joined Assistant Professor of Biology Mindy Reynolds’ toxicology class to work on a scientific experiment in a college setting.
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    Eshan Patel ’13 and Victoria Ruff ’14 spent their summer working with Assistant Professor of Biology Mindy Reynolds researching the cytotoxic, genotoxic, and mutagenic effects of coexposure to nickel and cobalt.
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    Antidepressants and pharmaceuticals have been found in the environment as they are released in the effluent from wastewater treatment plants, which are not designed to remove such compounds from the water. This summer, Dr. Martin Connaughton and summer research student Kathy Thornton ‘13 are focusing on fluoxetine (Prozac) and its impact on the startle response in Zebrafish. Stimuli that are perceived as dangerous, in our case an acoustic/vibrational stimulus, can elicit a startle response from fish, aiding in the fish’s survival. Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases the concentration of serotonin in the blood, producing a “lighter” mood. It is hypothesized that under exposure to fluoxetine, the startle response will differ in swimming velocity and severity. Any decrease in responsiveness to a startle stimulus in response to fluoxetine would suggest that this compound, found in the environment, might decrease the likelihood of a fish surviving an attack by a predator.
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    “Ahhhh, Strontium!”Pyrotechnics expert John Conking ‘65, an adjunct professor of chemistry, offered a talk on the Chemistry of Fireworks Saturday afternoon. Professor Conkling explained the chemical compounds and methods used to produce the various colors and special effects of fireworks displays.Conkling and Chris Mocella ‘01, a chemist with US Customs & Border Protection, collaborated on the second edition of Conkling’s book, The Chemistry of Fireworks, published in January 2011. The lecture was part of the College’s celebration of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.
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    The Older & Wiser Reception for classes beyond 1961 brought alumni together for cocktails and dinner in the Joseph H. McLain ’37 Atrium.
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    In an illustrated talk, historian Peter H. Wood used Winslow Homer’s 1866 painting, Near Andersonville—one of the artist’s most striking, yet least-known works – to discuss the tumultuous final two years of the American Civil War.An emeritus Professor of History at Duke University, Wood was in residence at Washington College from April 23-30 as the Starr Center’s 2011 Frederick Douglass Visiting Fellow. He is the author/editor of six books, including Black Majority (Knopf, 1974), which set the stage for a new generation of scholarship on American slavery.
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    Washington College installed the Gamma Eta chapter of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, the National Honor Society in Chemistry, with an installation and induction ceremony in Litrenta Lecture Hall.
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    Students in the Ichthyology class at Washington College, taught by Dr. Martin Connaughton, observed and experimented with male Betta fish and their displays of aggression. Students learned the different signs of aggression (opercle expansion, lateral display, approach, fin spreading, etc.) that a male might exhibit in order to intimidate an opposing male, an object outside the tank, or even its own reflection. After observing their behavior, students developed their own experiments to determine the impact of factors such as fish size, fish color, and opercle size on the fish’s display of aggression.
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    The Ichthyology students observed Zebrafish larvae exhibiting positive phototaxis, a tendency to move towards the light. In this experiment, half of a glass tank was covered in foil to create dark conditions and students watched as the larvae settled themselves in the lighted portion. Check out video from this lab.
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    The Student Environmental Alliance planted over 400 green flags in the median between Bunting Hall and Larabee Arts Center representing those individuals who have signed the green pledge for campus sustainability.To help increase campus awareness of climate change, SEA members drew a chalk line around the perimeter of the Toll Science Center to illustrate the anticipated global sea level rise by the end of the 21st century. Alumni networked with students and community members in the McLain Atrium prior to a panel discussion on environmental careers moderated by Interim Director of the Center for the Environment and Society John Seidel. The EnviroPanel featured a mix of alumni from conservation organizations, academia, government, and business: Bruce Alexander ‘94 M’00, Katy Bishop ‘04, Thomas Hopkins ‘86, Andrew McCown ‘77, and Michael Scozzafava ‘02.

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Toll Science Center News

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    A March 7 talk at the College kicks off a three-part program that stresses the importance of salt marsh habitats in the ecosystem.
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    Jonathan McKnight ’85, director of Maryland’s Natural Heritage Program, will speak March 4 about conserving rare species and natural areas.
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    World expert Hazel Barton speak Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. about how an epidemic of white nose syndrome is threatening bat populations throughout North America.  Livestream her talk here.