George S. Zaidan ’08, while an undergraduate at MIT, ran into a conceptual problem while teaching a course for high school students (See The Tech article). He asked his students to plan an experiment and in the process realized that most students did not understand the process of developing a scientific hypothesis and designing hypothesis driven experiments. George conceived the idea of having an online presence for students interested in science to go and explore who was doing research and how they were doing it. He called it OpenLabWare. With the help of John Essigmann, his academic adviser, George started to assemble a working team. He recruited other MIT undergraduates and worked tirelessly for three years, obtaining funding and academic support for his vision.
The process of research and scientific discovery still remains a mystery to most people. But thanks to George’s ideas and hard work, more people can understand how scientists develop research programs and carry out their research. OpenCourseWare provides a glimpse into the every day lives of the individuals who help develop the next generation of scientific and engineering discoveries.