Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

When our students learn using not only their heads, but also their hands and their hearts, the product is not just a physical artifact, but also knowledge, intuition, and character. Every Stanford student deserves the opportunity to learn by doing, from political scientists to product designers, developing skills, creativity, and confidence they will draw upon throughout their lives. We envision a campus connected through making, with makerspaces forming communities of interdisciplinary collaboration that embody the diversity and inclusivity of our University. We can realize this vision for making@stanford by supporting the people that mentor our student makers, enabling accessible making courses in every discipline, and building connections between making communities across campus.

What is physical design and making?

It is the transformation of material in order to transform thinking. It is a student working on a meaningful problem, defining their own goals, applying their knowledge, developing creative solutions, realizing them in physical form, and reflecting on the experience. This process takes many forms in many disciplines. It can mean designing and creating mechanical, electrical, or biological systems out of metals, components, or cells, measuring their behavior, and learning from unexpected results. It can mean envisioning an aesthetic, welding, connecting, or sculpting materials into form, and noticing the spaces and emotional responses that are generated. It can mean designing a musical instrument and hearing its timbre, creating a new food and tasting its biochemistry, or using ancient fabrication methods to feel part of an early civilization. Physical design and making is a student engaging with a medium and experiencing the outcome in ways that make real and tangible what was once virtual and conceptual.