PASADENA—Famed scientific instrument maker Dr. Arnold O. Beckman will receive the "Treasures of Los Angeles" Award on May 8 from Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan. The ceremony will take place during the 72nd annual meeting of the Central City Association, at noon at the Biltmore Hotel.
Beckman is a longtime supporter of the California Institute of Technology, as well as a former trustee and faculty member. He founded Beckman Instruments, Inc., in 1935, a year after inventing a pH meter that has been an indispensable tool to chemists and pharmacists ever since.
A native of Cullom, Illinois, Beckman came to Caltech in the 1920s after earning bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Illinois. He earned a doctorate at Caltech in 1928 in photochemistry and became a member of the chemistry faculty.
Beckman resigned from the Caltech faculty in 1940 to devote his full efforts to the company, and the same year introduced additional products that also soon became standard scientific instruments. He never returned to regular classroom duty after leaving the Caltech faculty, but has maintained a keen interest in higher education—and particularly science education and the training of research scientists. In 1953 he became the first Caltech alumnus to be named a member of the Institute's board of trustees, serving as chairman of the board from 1964 to 1974, when he became chairman emeritus.
His monetary support of scientific research has also been significant. To date he has given approximately $270 million for the direct support of research.
In citing Beckman for the award, the CCA noted that the recognition was for his "considerable commitment to Southern California through work with countless local universities, including the California Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California."
The "Treasures of Los Angeles" program honors L.A. citizens who have made outstanding contributions in the arts, business, communications, the community, education, entertainment, and sports. Past recipients include educator Jaime Escalante, actor Milton Berle, and musician Ray Charles.
The event begins with an 11:30 a.m. reception at the Biltmore Hotel (506 South Grand Avenue), followed by the program, which will continue from noon to 1:30 p.m. For more information, contact Christopher C. Martin of Albert C. Martin & Associates at 213-683-1900.