Keck Graduate Institute Unveils Science Heritage Center

Dec 06, 2010, 08:00 ET from Keck Graduate Institute

CLAREMONT, Calif., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) announced today the establishment of the new Science Heritage Center which showcases inventors Arnold Beckman and Wallace Coulter, whose pioneering analytical instruments revolutionized the bioscience and diagnostic industries.

"We want this exhibit to showcase analytical inventions and systems that changed the life science landscape," said Jim Osborne, PhD, KGI's Robert E. Finnigan professor, who was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to KGI for the public as well as students to enjoy and learn from.

Consisting of more than 50 pieces of equipment on display across two corridors, the exhibit covers 70 years of scientific history.  It is arranged in chronological order and begins with the pH Meter invented by Beckman in 1935 to determine the pH level of lemon juice.  His colleague, a chemist for the California Fruit Growers Exchange, wanted to make concentrated lemon juice and needed an accurate and rapid method of measuring the acidity of the juice.

The Beckman pH meter, which sparked a chemical revolution, was designated a National Historical Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society in 2004.

Today, the Beckman pH meter is used in monitoring water quality, soil, sewer and waste disposal, plus food and beverage processing and blood analysis.

Other instruments in the exhibit include the:

  • DU Spectrophotometer (1940), the first affordable commercial spectrophotometer that revolutionized laboratory testing by shrinking the time it took to establish biological assays from weeks to mere minutes.
  • Oxygen analyzer (1943), invented by Beckman and Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, which became the first commercial oxygen analyzer used in hospital incubators for premature babies with underdeveloped lungs.
  • First Automated Blood Cell Counter (1960), based on the Coulter Principal, which could count and measure blood cells at the rate of thousands per second, providing greater speed, convenience and accuracy over the prevailing manual method using a microscope and hand counter.
  • DNA Sequencer (1989), the first automated capillary electrophoresis system that was used to rapidly analyze DNA, amino acids and proteins, and became the primary technology utilized to sequence the human genome.

The exhibit of instruments is complemented by a series of colorful scientific posters on the bioscience breakthroughs that facilitated advances in the detection and prevention of disease.

In time, the exhibit will feature interactive video and audio to help viewers better understand the importance and impact of the various displays.

Osborne said he welcomes field trips of high school students and college undergraduates to tour the exhibit in hopes of sparking their interest in translating advances in life science into innovative commercial products.

"It's a nice fit with KGI's strategy of preparing students, with a degree in science or engineering, for leadership careers in the life science industry," Osborne said.

Osborne hopes the exhibit will expand as more companies choose to have their inventions showcased as well.


Educating the future leaders of the bioscience industry, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) offers an interdisciplinary graduate education through its Master of Bioscience (MBS), Postdoctoral Professional Masters in Bioscience Management (PPM), Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate (PPC), PhD and other academic programs.  Using team-based learning and real-world projects, KGI's innovative curriculum seamlessly combines applied life sciences, bioengineering, bioethics and business management.  KGI also has a robust research program concentrating on the translation of basic discoveries in the life sciences into applications that can benefit society.  KGI is a member of The Claremont Colleges, located in Claremont, California.

Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences is dedicated to education and research aimed at translating into practice, for the benefit of society, the power and potential of the life sciences.

SOURCE Keck Graduate Institute