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Foreword O n November 15, 2004, the National Academies sponsored a sym- posium at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California, in honor of Arnold O. Beckman, the renowned inven- tor and philanthropist, who had died earlier that year at age 104. The title of the symposium was "Instrumentation for a Better Tomorrow," and it focused on the more practical, applied side of instrumentation, as was the focus of Arnold Beckman's career. Over the course of the day, the symposium participants were treated to a wide-ranging and inspiring overview of the role that research instrumentation has played, and will continue to play, in improving our lives. Many of the most important scientific and technological advances of the twentieth century were the product of devices that extended human observations and manipulations into new realms. Furthermore, many of these instruments have found applica- tions far beyond the research laboratory, changing our lives in ways large and small. We benefit from advances in instrumentation every time we drive a car, shop at a store, go to the doctor, or turn on a computer or a television. The importance of instrumentation in research has grown immensely since Arnold Beckman, then "simplify, a professor at the California Institute of Technology, marketed his first commercially successful instrument in 1935--an electronic meter designed originally to measure the acidity of lemon juice. innovate, and Today, the conduct of most research is essentially inseparable from the use of reliable, high- performance, and integrated research tools. Indeed, instrumentation has become so important in research that instrument development has itself become the subject of research, creating a positive automate" feedback loop that has accelerated the pace of scientific and technological progress. One of the guiding mottos of Dr. Beckman's commercial enterprises was "simplify, innovate, and automate," and each of these three admonitions was an important theme of instrument development throughout Dr. Beckman's career. Though the phenomena being studied in modern research laboratories are extraordinarily complex, an essential component of under- standing has been to abstract some aspect of a phenomenon that can be observed or measured. Once recognized and quantified, this aspect can be used to help construct an understanding of the phenomenon in its full complexity. In the atmospher- ic sciences, for example, new instru- ments developed in recent decades, such as infrared spectrometers and flame ionization detectors used with gas chromatographs, have revealed a dynamism in the atmosphere that previously had been unsuspected. The major and minor constituents of the Beckman's scientific instruments capitalized early on the capabilities of infrared light. atmosphere interact with one another Many technological applications of infrared light have since followed, including and with substances injected into the common remote controls. Courtesy of Wikipedia. INSTRUMENTATION FOR A BETTER TOMORROW 1
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atmosphere in complex, unanticipated, and important ways. The revolution in the atmospheric sciences catalyzed by these instruments has led not only to greater understanding but to world- wide policies designed to protect the atmosphere from degradation. The second of Dr. Beckman's guiding principles, "innovation," has become a centerpiece of advanced instrumentation. At the time of Dr. Beckman's first commercial enterprises, innova- tion in instrumentation was not perceived as a central part of the enterprise. Today, that atti- tude is gone. Researchers have realized that advances in instrumentation can be the key to both Researchers new discoveries and better technologies. For example, the instruments used to design, manu- facture, and test integrated circuits have become as much the object of research as the inte- grated circuits themselves. have realized Finally, the drive to automate the observation and measurement of phenomena also has creat- that advances in ed new and often unanticipated opportunities. Though automation risks removing the researcher from the phenomena being studied, it can create capabilities not achievable in any instrumentation other way. In the biomedical sciences, for example, analysis of thousands of genes and proteins interacting in complex ways is possible only through massive automation. can be the key In general, instrumentation and research have a symbiotic relationship. Scientific and technolog- ical advances lead to new instruments, while important scientific and technological problems to both new stimulate the development of new instruments. Instruments developed for one area of research often find application in other areas, both in the research enterprise and in the broader society. discoveries The summary of the symposium presented in this publication consists of three parts. Part I provides two perspectives on Dr. Beckman's life and accomplishments--one from his daugh- and better ter, Pat Beckman, and the other from his biographer, Arnold Thackray. Together, these two per- sonal reminiscences offer an insightful portrait of a remarkable man. technologies. Part II consists of summaries of seven talks delivered at the symposium on various areas of modern instrumentation, from powerful x-ray light sources to magnetic resonance imaging devices to biosensors on tiny manufactured chips. Part III presents a panel discussion of Dr. Beckman's contributions to science and of the vision of instrumentation and research that has emerged from his efforts. The two of us can speak for everyone at the symposium in expressing our deep appreciation of and admiration for Dr. Beckman's accomplishments and convictions. By commemorating his life, we celebrate the work of a man who made the world a different and better place. Wm. A. Wulf Ralph J. Cicerone President, National Academy of Engineering President, National Academy of Sciences 2 INSTRUMENTATION FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
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A Daughter's Remembrances By Pat Beckman T hank you very much for sponsoring this symposium. Dad would have been thrilled by the honor. He left an enormous legacy that will always be larger than life. It began with his first job when he was six years old--he had to brush the flies off the noses of the big plow horses that his father the blacksmith was shoeing. He had lots of promise--midwestern values; good grades; he loved school; he was musically talented. The seeds of Dad's greatness and genius were sown very early. When he was a kid, Dad decided he wanted to be a scientist. So he had cards made up that said, "Arnold Beckman, chief scientist." When he moved to Bloomington to attend high school, he decided that he wanted the corner back bedroom, so he painted his bedroom white, because all labs are white. But it took four coats, because he didn't understand that you have to use a primer. He had great confidence. Once I asked him if he ever felt a lack of confidence, and he said no. Maybe that confidence came from his days of riding the rails. When he was coming out West, he would jump off a freight train, go to the back door of a café in town, ask for a job as a dishwasher, and work and quit after earning a bag of food. Then he would get back on the freight train until the next little western town. He learned to be self-sufficient. He studied electronics at Bell Labs in New York, and he understood the electronics he was learn- ing. When it came time to build the first pH meter, he made a fast, dependable, and accurate instrument that changed science forever. Of course, it didn't stop with the acidimeter. Dad went on to build a whole industry of fast, accurate, and dependable instruments. It was the melding of chemistry and electronics that first established his legacy. His second legacy was a very successful melding of scientific knowledge and business acu- men. Dad never quite admitted he was a businessman. He used to say that he backed into business. Rather, he would tell you that he was a problem solver, and of course he was a very good one. In the 1970s, my parents set up a foundation. Beckman Instruments became enormously successful and world-renowned. It was sold in 1982 to SmithKline Corporation, the phar- maceutical house in Philadelphia, which then became SmithKline Beckman. Dad was now a very wealthy man. He used that wealth to build five centers and institutes at the University of Illinois, Caltech, Stanford, the City of Hope, and the Beckman Laser Institute here at the INSTRUMENTATION FOR A BETTER TOMORROW 5
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University of California at Irvine. He said that scientists had been good to him by using his instruments so he would give back to them through the funding of the Beckman institutes and centers and many other scientific establishments. In September 1977, Dad said that the foundation had originally been established for the purpose of supporting basic scientific research, primarily in the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine. After my mother died, in 1989, Dad placed the foundation in perpetuity. Its mission became "preserving and enhancing the capital assets and distributing only revenue to support leading-edge research in the fields of chemistry and life sciences broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and material that open up new avenues of research and application in these disciplines and related sciences." Dad wrote that when he was 90 years old. The last paragraph of his philosophy statement is also instructive. Dad was aware that the funds in his foundation would grow and wanted those funds to support research, educa- tion, and facilities at the five Beckman institutes and centers. He also wanted to fund other institutions and did--so many that I won't recount here. But specifically they "should be primarily for research purposes and should be given for a limited time, one to three years." Then, my father said that his preference was to favor young investigators, new ideas, and a variety of projects, rather than fund large, established ones of long duration. Some of the variety of programs funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation are the Beckman Young Investigators Program for promising young faculty, the Beckman Scholars Program for undergraduate students, the research technologies initiatives, and in the past an Orange-County-wide, hands-on science program for elementary school children, to name just a few. My father was always consistent. He had a set of what he called "The Rules That Govern My Life,"which have been printed on a small foldover card. The first rule is and has always been, "Maintain absolute integrity at all times." That meant integrity in all things, such as when results do not match hypotheses in research. But he also could poke fun at himself. I'll close with one of his favorite stories about integri- ty. Two men owned a store together. One day a patron came in to purchase an item. He paid for the item with a $20 bill. As the owner went to put the $20 in the cash register, he noticed that there were two new $20 bills stuck together. The owner wondered: Should he give the extra $20 to his co-owner, or should he pocket it himself? Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day. 6 INSTRUMENTATION FOR A BETTER TOMORROW
Representative terms from entire chapter: