In Response to: Guyot’s Changing Role

According to Princeton's announcement, the University is eviscerating and renaming Guyot Hall and kicking out ecology and evolutionary biology and geosciences to make room for more computer science.  As an alumnus with a B.A. in EEB from the Class of 2011 who has gone on to pursue a Ph.D. in biological oceanography, the change concerns me.  Though I admit that that concern is partly sentimental, it is founded on my perception of a sinking baseline of academic focus on the study of the natural world.

Guyot Hall is of value to the history of science and of the University, named after Arnold Henry Guyot, foundational professor in the Geosciences Department and a significant figure in 19th-century science.  The building seems to be the proper home of EEB and GEO, especially given its biodiversity-themed external architecture and the museum collection within.  Moreover, the physical connection with the molecular biology buildings directly to the south of Guyot represented (at least) a holistic view of studying nature that melded the powerful reductionist tools of the molecular and information revolutions with an integrative understanding of ecological and Earth systems.  Relegating EEB and GEO to some other corner of campus doesn't speak well of the University's future interest in research on the real world, rather than on the more profitably exploitable frontier of the world of 1s and 0s.  It's too bad that there aren't any billionaire donors in the ecology industry to make this point to Princeton.

Matthew Costa ’11
La Jolla, Calif.