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Remembering Ann S Bowers

Remembering Ann S Bowers

The Exploratorium is saddened to announce the passing of Ann S. Bowers on January 24th, 2024 at the age of 86. Ann was an exceptional leader for women and women in STEM, and her decades-long role in education philanthropy leaves behind a legacy of inspiration.

Remembering Ann S Bowers

Ann S. Bowers, Exploratorium Awards Dinner, 2005 (Photo credit: Lily Rodriguez)

Ann spent her career developing and fostering an environment where technologists could thrive, as the first Vice President of Human Resources at Apple (1980- 1986) and as the first Head of Human Resources at Intel (1970-1976). Ann served as a board member at the Exploratorium from 2000-2010 and was a founding trustee of the Noyce Foundation, named after her husband, physicist Robert Norton Noyce (1927-1990). Noyce was fondly known as the "Mayor of Silicon Valley" and was the co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel and a co-inventor of the integrated circuit. 

Ann was an early supporter of the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute program through the Noyce Foundation and its mission to help young people become "curious, thoughtful, and engaged learners" especially in the content areas of science, math, and literacy. Ann was involved on the ground floor of the Teacher Institute, helping to shape the direction of the program, and in 1999 was invited by Executive Director Goéry Delacote to join the Exploratorium’s Board of Trustees. She became one of the Exploratorium’s most active Trustees (2000-2010) and steadfast supporters, consistently raising the bar for Trustee commitment, and serving as Vice-Chair and on the Directors and Program Committees. 

In addition to the Noyce Foundation support of the Teacher Institute, Ann and the Foundation contributed over $12 million towards the Exploratorium’s move to its current location on the Embarcadero which encompassed the renovation of the historic Pier 15 into a cutting edge, environmentally sustainable museum with hundreds of new exhibits, an all-glass Observatory, and an outdoor gallery. 

Ann was incredibly generous with her vision and leadership across a broad spectrum of cultural institutions and programs. In addition to her impact on the Exploratorium, she served on the boards of San Francisco State University; Grinnell College (Iowa); the American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco); EdVoice, of Sacramento; El Camino Hospital; CoGenerate (formerly, and Technology Center of Silicon Valley, of Sunnyvale, California. She made transformational gifts to her alma Mater, Cornell, including the establishment of the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science and gave the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center the largest individual gift in its history in support of its young artist residency program, which was renamed the Bowers Program.

Ann’s legacy at the Exploratorium lives on through The Noyce Fund for Teacher Education at the Exploratorium, which supports K12 science teachers in California and around the world. 


" Ann was instrumental in helping us to build our Teachers Institute into the program it is today, a worldwide leader in science education and professional support for teachers. She demonstrated her personal commitment to excellence and meaningful impact by constantly challenging educational programs to move the focus from 'nice' to 'necessary.' "

–Robert Semper, Chief Learning Officer, Exploratorium 


For further information about the legacy of Ann Bowers and the Teachers Institute at the Exploratorium, please contact


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About the Exploratorium

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The Exploratorium is a portal to the astonishing scientific phenomena that animate our world and shape our actions. We create extraordinary learning experiences that ignite curiosity, upend perceptions, and inspire brave leaps forward. Since 1969, the Exploratorium’s museum in San Francisco has been home to a renowned collection of exhibits that draw together science, art, and human perception, and that have changed the way science is taught. Our award-winning programs provide a forum for the public to engage with artists, scientists, policymakers, educators, and tinkerers to explore the world around them. We celebrate diversity of thought, inspired investigation, and collaboration across all boundaries.

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