As you walk into the Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences, you know you’ve entered a world where chemistry is celebrated. The entrance, which features an illuminated depiction of the periodic table of elements, is dazzling. The periodic table has never looked better.
Artist Erwin Redl’s rendering of the symbols—interspersed with giant fingerprints—flash in various colors. And if you pay close attention to the order in which the elements flash, you may be able to decipher a message. Comfy seats arranged beneath this unique installation invite students to take a break or study there.
Sophomore chemistry major Cassie Chartier says the giant glowing periodic table is her favorite part of the building. “It’s a cool spot to recover after an exam or take an awesome picture,” she said.
“My favorite part is the brand new instrumentation available for everyone to use. It’s given me the opportunity to be formally trained on state-of-the-art equipment, which will be incredibly helpful in my future.”
The Beaupre Center’s stunning entrance sets the tone for the building, which opened last fall to acclaim from students, faculty, and the business community. The $68 million facility serves 7,000 students who enroll in chemistry classes every year. It includes well-equipped teaching and research laboratories, attractive classrooms and lecture halls, a learning center for student tutoring, and the Center for Excellence for Explosives Detection, Mitigation and Response.
Professor William Euler, chairman of the Department of Chemistry, said the building’s spaciousness and large windows make it an appealing place for students to learn, study, and relax. “Every place where there is student seating is occupied every hour of the day,” he said. “It’s a visually attractive place to spend your day.”
That’s what Jean Bray likes about the building, too. A senior majoring in chemistry and biology, she likes that the Beaupre Center has so many areas for students to gather and study together. The faculty offices are also easily accessible—and their doors are usually open—for whenever she has questions.
“But I’d have to say my favorite part is the brand new instrumentation available for everyone to use,” said Jean, who will pursue graduate study in chemistry next fall. “I work in a research lab, and the lab has amazing upgrades that have improved my ability to do research and analyze my data more efficiently. It’s given me the opportunity to be formally trained on state-of-the-art equipment, which will be incredibly helpful in my future.”
For non-chemistry majors, the building is centrally located between the nursing, pharmacy, and biotechnology buildings where many students enrolled in chemistry classes spend much of their time.
“The Beaupre Center is exactly what URI needed,” said Cassie, who hopes to earn a graduate degree and eventually work as a chemist for a consumer product company like Johnson & Johnson or Proctor & Gamble. “Chemistry is a very important field, and it’s essential to have a good environment for students to learn and grow as scientists. We now have access to more space, more comfortable lecture halls, and better technology for professors to teach my favorite subject!”