Dr. Arnold O. Beckman
Dr. Beckman stated, "There is no satisfactory substitute for excellence." These words served as the personal benchmark for everything he pursued. It was the philosophy that guided his life, forever changed science and resulted in a legacy that will always endure.
Arnold O. Beckman lived to be 104 years old. What is even more remarkable than the length of his life is what he accomplished during his life. As a young teen, he helped support his family by playing the piano for silent movies. Remarkably, over the course of four short years, he earned his engineering and his master's degree in physical chemistry from the University of Illinois. He obtained his doctorate in photochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, where he also served as a professor. Dr. Beckman founded National Technical Laboratories (NTL) in 1935 with the invention of the acidimeter. It was the first of 14 patents he was issued by the United States Government. NTL was renamed Beckman Instruments in 1950. Today the company, renamed Beckman-Coulter, is a world leader in clinical diagnostics and life science research.
Considered one of the top five inventors of scientific instruments, Dr. Beckman created devices that revolutionized the study and understanding of human biology, ultimately saving countless lives. As a result, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1987, joining other great inventors like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. He was honored by the Reagan administration with the 1988 National Medal of Technology for outstanding technological contributions to the United States and the 1989 Presidential Citizens Medal for his exemplary deeds of service. President George H.W. Bush also awarded Dr. Beckman the National Medal of Science in 1989 for his leadership in analytical instrumentation development and for his deep concern for the vitality of the nation's scientific enterprises.
Dr. Beckman's passion for science, problem solving and excellence, extended to every aspect of his incredible life. As a civic leader, educator, humanitarian, husband, inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, he always looked for ways to make the world a better place.