What started as a question on how to quickly determine the pH level in lemon juice byproducts became the first commercially successful, electronic glass-electrode pH meter. The result was a new era in chemistry, and the birth of a new electronic instrument industry.
Hailed as “perhaps the single greatest instrument” of its era, the Beckman DU forever transformed the practice of chemistry and the life sciences. With speed and accuracy, it detected the “fingerprints” of life’s essential materials and moved chemistry from the academic laboratory directly into commercial production facilities.
It began as a better mousetrap for precision controls. Dr. Beckman designed a continuously variable resistor for electrical control of his instruments. This “Helipot” rapidly became a critical component for radar, electronic computers, the aerospace industry, and now continues to touch nearly every industry.
Launched for critical wartime efforts in the reliable production of synthetic rubber, fuels and medicines, the infrared spectrophotometer became a primary tool for understanding and mass manufacture of novel materials.
As a classified military project, the Oxygen Analyzer was intended for use in high-altitude aircraft during WWII. Later, it improved safety in very different settings: the submarine and the neonatal ward.
One of the most important inventions in the development of the life sciences was the ultracentrifuge. Its wide spread use enabled the modern age of molecular biotechnology.