Hoping to foster minority student interest in the sciences, a conference on Saturday in the Science Center brought together minority students and faculty in the science concentrations.
About 140 students registered to participate in the event, "Academic Science: Research and Careers for Minority Undergraduates," the first of its kind hosted by the University.
Co-sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations and the Harvard Society of Black Scientists and Engineers, the conference featured small seminars and workshops led by science professors.
Baird Professor of Science Dudley R. Herschbach and Kenneth R. Manning '72, professor of rhetoric and of the history of science at MIT, spoke at the event.
Manning, who is active in national efforts to help Black students pursue careers in the sciences, discussed the history of Blacks in science in his keynote address.
"Blacks have often encountered impediments in science," he said. "They have confronted overt racism in many face-to-face encounters."
For Manning, however, the field of science offered a way around racial prejudice. "One of the things I liked about math," he said, "was that no one could play with my grade."
Herschbach also said the fact that scienceoffers clear truths drew him to the field.
"Science reasearch has a tremendous advantageover other fields," Herschbach said, "becausethere is always a truth which waits patiently tobe discovered through ardent pursuit and hardwork."
Students participating in the event wereextremely enthusiastic.
"It was a big success," Andrea Thomas '95 said."There was a good turnout and everyone seemedpleased with what they came away with."
"The professors were extremely enthusiastic,"said Samantha Butts '94. "That is so important toencourage students to stick with a scienceconcentration."
Area high school students, who also attendedthe event, said the conference heightened theirinterest in science.
"It was a new experience for me," said NyumaHarrison, a senior at the Cambridge Rindge andLatin School. "It definitely made me want to takemore science classes.