John Durant

John Durant

Pfoho Pfaculty Dean
Director, MIT Museum
Adjunct Professor, Science, Technology, Society, MIT
John Durant

Unlike Anne, I never knew Harvard as a student. I’m an alumnus of Queens’ College, Cambridge, where I studied Natural Sciences for my bachelor’s degree and History of Science for my PhD. I spent the first part of my career working in several different universities and museums in the UK, but since the mid-2000s I’ve been working at MIT, where I’m Director of the MIT Museum and an Adjunct Professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society.


My main academic interest is in the place of science and technology in the wider culture. I’ve always enjoyed having one foot in the academy and another in the wider community (which provides for good balance, I’ve found, for just so long as the two don't drift too far apart!). While some of my research has been in the history of science – especially in the history of evolutionary biology, and the relationship between science and religion – in recent years more of it has been in public understanding of science and science communication. At MIT, I teach courses with titles like “Evolution and Society”, “Science Communication”, and “Exhibiting Science”; and each spring, I oversee The Cambridge Science Festival, a 10-day city-wide celebration of science and technology that attracts as many as 50,000 people to scores of different events.

This reminds me to say that we’re always looking for volunteers to help us run the Cambridge Science Festival – so if you’re interested, please let me know!

Ours is an Anglo-American family:  besides Jamie, I have three grown up children from my first marriage: Robbie, who is an electronics engineer for a Formula One race team; Jessica, who has a masters degree in refugee studies (and right now is working for a non-profit organization in Kabul, Afghanistan); and Toby, who coaches an American football team based in England . When we are not in Pfoho, one of the current favorite places we like to go as a family are the mountains and lakes of western Maine, where we cherish our occasional close encounters with moose, deer and eagles (the mosquitos, not so much).

Contact Information

p: 3-7798

House Role