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Arnold Orville Beckman was an American musician, college professor, philanthropist, industrialist, and chemist. Beckman is famous for his developments in his scientific instruments. Two of these scientific instruments are the electronic pH meter and DU ultraviolet spectrophotometer.
See the fact file below for more information on the Arnold Orville Beckman or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Arnold Orville Beckman worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Arnold Orville Beckman was born in Cullom, Illinois, the United States, on April 10, 1900. His father, George Beckman, was a blacksmith who also encouraged his son to have an early interest in science.
- At a young age, Beckman’s curiosity led him to experiment and to build things using electronic parts and chemicals around his hometown. On his 10th birthday, George Beckman gifted him a small shed as Beckman’s makeshift laboratory.
- Twelve years later, after Beckman spent some time with the U.S. Marines in World War I, he studied under Carl “Speed” Marvel, who worked on dialkyl mercury compounds at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. Beckman also received his degree in chemical engineering at this university.
- However, while Beckman was conducting research, he suffered from a bout of mercury poisoning that shifted his attention to physical chemistry. In 1923, Beckman also achieved his MS in chemistry.
- Later on, Beckman moved to the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) to do graduate work and study physical and chemical analysis.
- In the following years, Beckman worked with Walter A. Shewhart at the Western Electric Engineering Laboratory, which was also the forerunner of Bell Labs. Shewhart was one of the people who developed the areas of standardization, testing, and quality control.
- Beckman observed and learned under Shewhart’s mentoring, and he learned about electronic technology while working with Bell Labs.
THE FIRST pH METER
- In 1928, Beckman returned to CalTech and received a Ph.D. for his work on the photochemistry of hydrazine and hydrazoic acid with Rose Dickinson. Beckman joined the CalTech faculty and became well-known for his skill at conducting experiments and his innovative mind.
- In 1934, Beckman’s classmate from the University of Illinois asked him to invent a sturdier electrical instrument for measuring the acidity of lemon juice for the California Fruit Growers’ Association.
- With this, Beckman was able to build the first pH meter. It is an electronic device for measuring the concentration of hydrogen ions in water. Beckman’s pH meter was the forerunner of several analytical instruments integrating a sensor and electronic signal processing.
- In 1939, Beckman left his faculty position at CalTech to become a full-time inventor and entrepreneur.
THE FIRST UV-VISIBLE SPECTROPHOTOMETER (DU)
- Later on, while the nation was experiencing the depression, Beckman risked, and started his company. Making his original pH meter stronger, he used the recently invented vacuum tube.
- Beckman Instruments, his company, became a success and a leading manufacturer of scientific instruments. In the first year of its operation, 87 pH meters and a year later, 444 pH meters were produced.
- In 1940, Beckman started developing the Beckman Model DU or the revolutionary ultraviolet spectrophotometer. It was the first UV-visible spectrophotometer that aimed to merge optics and electronics into a single instrument.
- The Beckman DU is an instrument to improve analytical precision in chemical analysis. 30,000 units of this famous DU were sold. During World War II, the DU became an essential tool in many research projects.
- Beckman’s IR spectrophotometers significantly advanced in synthetic rubber research programs. Another invention of Beckman, the “Helipot,” was a militarized version of the DU, the multi-turn potentiometer that became a worldwide feature of radar consoles and other electronic gear.
- In 1952, Beckman Instruments became a public company and continued its production of scientific instruments that have a wide variety of laboratory needs, from medical research to drug discovery and diagnostic tools.
BECKMAN’S OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS
- Even though Beckman left CalTech in 1940, he remained involved with education and research and served on the CalTech’s board of trustees from 1953, and as a chairman from 1964-1974.
- In 1980, after Beckman renounced his active role in Beckman Instruments, he and his wife focused their attention on philanthropy. They established the Beckman Foundation and made significant monetary gifts to construct research centers and institutes at CalTech, the University of Illinois, and the University of California.
- They also funded the City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center in Los Angeles. Beckman Foundation also financed the construction of the Beckman Center of the National Academies in Irvine. They also gave millions of dollars to many institutions in support of the sciences.
- The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation continued its legacy by promoting basic research and science education in the chemical and life sciences. They also launched programs supporting assistant professors and undergraduate research students and K-6 hands-on science instruction.
- In 1998, Beckman was voted to be one of the most influential chemists in the 20th century by the 1998 readers of Chemical and Engineering News. A year later, Beckman was awarded the Public Welfare Medal, which was the highest honor of the National Academy of Sciences.
- In 2000, Beckman was awarded the Special Millennium Edition of the Othmer Gold Medal at the Chemical Heritage Foundation to recognize him being an instrument maker, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and public servant that helped established industry and enriched the chemical heritage.
Arnold Orville Beckman Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Arnold Orville Beckman across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Arnold Orville Beckman worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Arnold Orville Beckman who was an American musician, college professor, philanthropist, industrialist, and chemist. Beckman is famous for his developments in his scientific instruments. Two of these scientific instruments are the electronic pH meter and DU ultraviolet spectrophotometer.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Arnold Orville Beckman Facts
- Beckman’s Profile
- Timeline of the Chemist
- Jumbled Chemicals
- The First pH Meter
- Spectrophotometer Parts
- Missing Words of Beckman
- Questions of the Scientist
- Beckman: Fact or Bluff
- Friend’s Request
- Beckman’s Advice
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