Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Mapping Science: Boston

With its prominent biotech sector, Harvard univeristy, MIT and world-class conference facilities, Boston (and adjoining Cambridge) is undeniably one of the great scientific cities of the world. Nature Network itself started off as a local site dedicated to serving the scientific community in Boston. This presence continues as a dedicated hub on NN, and hub leader Tinker Ready has now prepared a scientific map of her city.

View Science in Boston/Cambridge in a larger map

Yellow = biotech/pharma, turquoise = academic, red = museums, purple = miscellaneous, red cross = medical.

Tinker gives an overview:

Fruit Street, Longwood, Kendall. Any Boston science map will show clusters at these three research hot spots. The Longwood Medical area grew up around Harvard Medical School and its three affiliated hospitals. The dense crossroads, which also includes a Merck drug research tower, is sandwiched between two stops on the Boston T – the city’s subway and trolley line. Good thing, because if this were a traffic map, it would show a permanent jam at the intersection of Brookline and Longwood avenues. Make that double when the Red Sox play baseball at home – Longwood is right down the street from that other city landmark, Fenway Park.

Boston University sits not far from Fenway. And while the school’s engineering labs dot the main campus, the BU medical and public health schools can be found on the other side of town in the South End. There, BU runs the city’s public hospital and hopes to open a high-security, biodefense research lab in 2010. (Opposition from neighbors and environmentalist has delayed the launch of the National Institutes of Health-funded program.)

North on Mass Ave. toward the Charles River leads to Massachusetts General Hospital – Fruit Street to those in the know. MGH sits on the Boston side and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sits across the river in Cambridge. There, the “infinite corridor” (250 meters) runs from the MIT dome to Kendall Square, home to the Broad Institute, a freestanding genetics research center. Also in Kendall — labs for Genzyme, Biogen-Idec and smaller biotech companies and start-ups. No wonder a Cambridge saloon is called “Miracle of Science.” With a menu modeled after the periodic table, it fits right in.

The map is a starting point, rather than a finished product. If you’d like to nominate other places in Boston/Cambridge for inclusion, please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to put together a map of science in your own city or region, please contact Matt Brown (i.am.mattbrown – at – gmail.com) for assistance.

Previous maps

Cambridge, UK




New York

San Francisco



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