Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Historical Note:

On October 7, 1985, a gift of $40 million from Arnold and Mabel Beckman was announced for the purpose of establishing the "Arnold O. and Mabel M. Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology" at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Beckman, the chairman of the board of Beckman Instruments, Inc., and a native of Cullom, Illinois, received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University in 1922 and his master's in physical chemistry in 1923. His gift is conditioned upon a $10 million contribution from the State of Illinois towards construction of the facility and support by the state and by the University for its maintenance and operation.1 The purpose of the Institute is to apply a new approach to interdisciplinary research in the biological and physical sciences. The Institute was divided into two major areas. The Center for Materials Science, Computers, and Computing emphasized research on solid-state materials, large-scale integration and systems, computer sciences, and information sciences. Areas of research concentration at the Center for Biology, Behavior, and Cognition included molecular life sciences, cell biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. The interdisciplinary nature of the Institute is expected to lead to a better understanding of human and artificial intelligence.2

On January 16, 1986, the Board of Trustees contracted with four firms for planning, architectural and construction services required in connection with the Beckman project, at a cost not to exceed $618,000, with funding to come from private donations through the University of Illinois Foundation and from the State of Illinois.3

1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 63rd Report, October 10, 1985, p. 397.

2. Ibid., p. 397.

3. Ibid., January 16, 1986, p. 463-65.

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