Back to top

Around the Pond

The Physical Sciences Building at UMass Amherst.

©Wilson HGA


No one can predict what exciting discoveries will take place in the new Physical Sciences Building, but we do know UMass Amherst chemists and physicists are thrilled with their new home. The building is bright, open, and sustainable, with plenty of flexible space for scientists, staff, and their highly specialized equipment. The 95,000-square-foot building will be a center of innovation in such fields as materials science, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and organic chemistry. The historic West Experiment Station was moved brick by brick and joined to the spectacular new building—preparing the 19th-century edifice for 21st-century experiments.




It started with a gas plate and some pots and pans in the basement of Wilder Hall. One hundred years later, the pioneering department of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has undergone many transformations and is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished in the world. 

On April 27, 1918, the trustees of Massachusetts Agricultural College established the nation’s first department of horticultural manufacturing, now known as food science. The department focused on food preservation. Through the years, it shifted to the science and industrialization of food manufacturing. Today, the department excels in four research areas: food and environmental biotechnology, physical-chemical properties of food, food safety, and foods for health and wellness.

Many alumni returned to campus last fall for a weekend of centennial activities. Professor Erik Decker ’89PhD, department head, noted, “Food science alumni have a long tradition of supporting the department through endowments to support undergraduate and graduate students and by leveraging their professional influence to hire students and support research. The constant support that our alumni have provided has been instrumental in our success. We are delighted to have this
100th anniversary celebration to recognize all they have done for the department.”



Blues musician Taj Mahal performs

Photo by Elizabeth Wilda.

Back to the Barn

Grammy-winning musician Taj Mahal ’63S, ’06Hon, a proud Stockbridge School of Agriculture alumnus, recently helped celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary.