The University of Delaware's Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory is more than just a new building, UD says it represents the future of education. 

At Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, University of Delaware President Dr. Patrick Harker recalled the words of French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur.

"'These are temples of the future,' [Pasteur] said, 'temples of well-being and happiness, where humanity grows greater, stronger, better.' The ISE Lab is our temple of the future," Harker told the crowd of elected officials, alumni, faculty and students.

The $137-million facility includes eight state-of-the-art classrooms, four laboratories, a 10,000 square foot nanofabrication facility and an advanced materials characterization lab.

"It's the most complex facility we've ever built at this university and, really, it's one of the most complex facilities built across the country," Harker said in an interview with WHYY. 

But more than the bells and whistles, Harker says what makes the ISE Lab a game changer is how the students learn inside the 194,000 square foot facility's walls, a building that bridges research and teaching physically and in practice.

"It's where our research will find a home, built on the foundation of openness and collaboration," said Harker, adding the ISE Lab brings together students and faculty from all fields of study, providing a space where they can teach, learn and research real-world problems together. For example, after learning in the classroom, Harker says, students get up and then run experiments in the adjacent labs.

"Because you're focused on real problems, as opposed to rote learning, what we know... is... yes you learn a little bit more, but more importantly, the learning sticks," Harker said. "Because you work to discover it, you own it."

"It's a different world of competition," Governor Jack Markell, D-Del, said. "And the only way for us to compete successfully in that world, and to win in that world, is to make investments like this."

The University of Delaware's ISE Lab is the school's first new science building in 20 years.