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Key Leadership at the Exploratorium

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2013

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Key Leadership at the Exploratorium

George Cogan, Partner / Vice President of Bain & Company and Exploratorium Board Member

George W. Cogan is partner and vice president in the Palo Alto office of Bain & Company, a global business consulting firm. He joined the firm in 1989. Trained as a physicist, he is head of Bain’s North American Technology Practice. He brings to his Exploratorium role a broad range of experience in technology-driven businesses and expertise in corporate and divisional strategy, marketing strategy, new product and new business development, and organizational design. In 2006, he led the successful search for the Exploratorium’s new Executive Director and has served as Chairman of the Development Committee for several years. Prior to joining Bain, Mr. Cogan worked for SERA Solar Corporation, a photovoltaic research and development firm. He earned an M.B.A. from Stanford Graduate School of Business and is an Arjay Miller Scholar. He is a graduate of Harvard University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in physics with honors. Along with Exploratorium Executive Director Dennis Bartels, Cogan has led a historic capital project and a $300 million capital campaign to relocate the Exploratorium to Piers 15/17 on San Francisco’s famed waterfront.

Dennis Bartels, Executive Director

Dennis Bartels is the Executive Director of the Exploratorium. As a science education and policy expert, he was appointed to the Education Working Group for the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009, and in 2010 he was one of two educators named to the Oceans Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP), which provides independent advice and guidance to the more than 20 federal agencies of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. Dr. Bartels has testified before United States congressional committees, including the House Science Committee. He was elected an AAAS Fellow (on Education), and he is also a Fellow of the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE) and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). In addition, he speaks internationally on science and mathematics education. Dennis holds a Ph.D. in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University. Along with Exploratorium Board Member George Cogan, Bartels has led a historic capital project and a $300 million capital campaign to relocate the Exploratorium to Piers 15/17 on San Francisco’s famed waterfront.

Rob Semper, Executive Associate Director and Director of Programs

Rob Semper is Executive Associate Director of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. He oversees the direction and content of the Exploratorium at Pier 15. Since joining the Exploratorium in 1977, he has lead numerous exhibit development, teacher enhancement and media development projects focused on science education for the public, teachers and students. He is also the principal investigator on numerous science education, media and research projects including the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Center for Informal Learning and Schools, a research collaboration between the Exploratorium, U.C. Santa Cruz and King’s College in London which studied the relationship between museums and formal education, and the NSF funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, a national network of science centers designed to foster engagement of the public with the nanotechnology field.

Over the past eighteen years Dr. Semper has guided the development of the award winning Exploratorium Website, which has explored the role of museums in the online world, including the development of online field trips to locations of scientific research. He has been a Schumann fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and director of the creative collaboration between Apple Computer and Lucasfilm Ltd. formed to develop interactive multimedia education projects. Dr. Semper received his Ph.D in solid state physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1973.

Thomas Rockwell, Director of Exhibits and Associate Director for Program
Tom Rockwell leads the group that is responsible for the exhibit experience at the museum. He oversees a staff of approximately 65 people, including exhibit developers, science and art content experts, and a visitor research and evaluation team. Tom has been principal investigator for the Geometry Playground exhibition, and co-principal investigator for the Science in the Stacks project for the Queens Borough Public Library. With Rob Semper, he has also been deeply involved in the design and planning for the Exploratorium’s move to San Francisco’s Embarcadero.

Training in the visual arts at Brown University and a lifelong interest in combining art and science led Tom to work first as an educator in science museums, and then as a designer and construction coordinator of community-built science parks and playgrounds. These projects, in which thousands of volunteers collaborated to build a public structure, have had a strong influence on how he thinks about design, the creative process, and the public’s desire to engage in science. In 1995, Tom founded Painted Universe, Inc. Projects have included traveling exhibitions such as It’s a Nano World (with the Ithaca Science Center and Cornell University), The Enchanted Museum: Exploring the Science of Art (with the Berkshire Museum), and illustrations for The Elegant Universe by Brian Green. (NOTE: Tom is Norman Rockwell’s grandson.)

Silva Raker is founding Director of Exploratorium Global Studios and joined the museum as Director of Business Development in 2010.

Global Studios works with governments, universities, partner museums, libraries, hospitals and other public/private entities around the world to create learning environments and build human capacity – Exploratorium exhibits are one part of that effort.  Raker’s work leverages the Exploratorium’s educational research and development to extend its mission. She extends the impact of the Exploratorium through museum consultancy, exhibit services, licensing, retail stores, restaurant concession, event rentals, sponsorships, and more.

Raker is an accomplished business development executive and has successfully grown vibrant, mission-based companies in the specialty retail and travel industries. Additionally, Silva is a trained scientist with a Bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley. 

After conducting field studies in zoology in California and Cameroon, Silva joined The Nature Company where she spent ten years developing proprietary products, innovative programs and fruitful partnerships. More recently, as the COO and leading strategist for Backroads, Silva managed a complex global operation while developing both new and existing business segments—including the Family Travel Program with natural history and cultural exploration for kids on five continents.

Go back to Exploratorium @ Pier 15 Press Kit table of contents

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367