New Masters of Pforzheimer House

Scholars Anne Harrington and John Durant step into their new roles in the fall.

Anne Harrington and John Durant

Harvard College dean Evelynn M. Hammonds announced today that professor of the history of science Anne Harrington ’82 and her husband, John Durant, will serve as the new master and co-master of Pforzheimer House. Having spent their careers focused on teaching and learning, Harrington and Durant—who succeed current masters Nicholas and Erika Christakis—will begin their duties this fall, living in the house along with their eight-year-old son, Jamie.

“I am very excited,” Harrington said in a University press release. “We spoke to a lot of masters as a part of this process, and through those discussions we got a sense of the real joy that this kind of position can bring and also what a wonderful opportunity for service this can be.”

Durant—director of the MIT Museum and an adjunct professor in MIT’s Science, Technology & Society Program—agreed, also saying that it would be an excellent place to raise their son.“I see this as enormously enriching for the family,” he said, adding, “to be surrounded by smart, energized, talented young people—why would that not just be the greatest opportunity for a young child?”

Harrington, a professor of the history of science and director of undergraduate studies for the department, received her A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard and her Ph.D. in the history of science from Oxford. Specializing in the history of psychiatry, neuroscience, and the other mind and behavioral sciences, she returned to teach at Harvard in 1988, and for six years co-directed the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Initiative. (She has also been a consultant for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Mind-Body Interactions.) In 2004, she was appointed to a five-year term as a Harvard College Professor, in recognition of her teaching skills; she has also won the Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Iota Prize for excellence in teaching. The author of three books, she currently serves as co-editor of Biosocieties—a journal concerned with social-science approaches to the life sciences.  

Durant earned a B.A. in natural sciences and a Ph.D. in the history and philosophy of science from Queens’ College, Cambridge. He focuses on introducing science to a broader spectrum of people through events like the Cambridge Science Festival—a celebration showcasing the leading edge in science, technology, engineering, and math. For the past five years, he and Harrington have also taught in Harvard study-abroad programs in England; they are planning this summer for an eight-week program, “Science, Medicine, and Religion in an Age of Skepticism,” that includes classroom study, extensive travel, and independent projects.

Harrington and Durant expressed excitement about their new roles, saying there is much to be learned from living in a vibrant and talented community. “How can we leverage that into something greater than the sum of its parts?” Harrington asked. “This is an opportunity and a challenge we take very seriously and one we are very much looking forward to.”

You might also like

Steven Pinker on Apple’s Vision Pro

Professor of psychology on the science and history behind the Vision Pro.

The State of Black America

Harvard African American scholars take stock of a difficult moment. 

Threats Foreign and Domestic

Joseph Nye discusses geopolitics and Harvard’s challenges.

Most popular

Harvard Portrait: Judith Grant Long

The associate professor of urban planning studies sports facilities and their impact.

The Way of The Blockbuster

In entertainment, big bets on likely winners rule.

Picture-book Publisher

Claudia Bedrick ’85 of Enchanted Lion Books offers an international array of stories to young children.

More to explore

Photograph of Winthrop Bell 1910

Winthrop Bell

Brief life of a philosopher and spy: 1884-1965

Illustration of people talking to each other with colorful thought bubbles above their heads

Talking about Talking

Fostering healthy disagreement

Vacationing with a Purpose

New England “summer camps” for adults