Enhanced Presence of the Chemical Heritage Foundation at Pittcon 2013 in Pittcon.org

Pittcon

December 1, 2012 - Philadelphia, PA

For the first time, Pittcon, the world’s largest annual conference and exposition for the laboratory sciences will be held in Philadelphia, March 17-21, 2013, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

For the past 13 years, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) has partnered with Pittcon to produce a historical depiction of the importance of scientific instrumentation to the chemical and molecular sciences. This joint effort is the renowned Pittcon Hall of Fame to which all Pittcon attendees have access.

This year, as a salute to the 100th anniversary of mass spectrometry, CHF will have an enhanced presence at Pittcon 2013. An instrumentation museum, which will be located in the main registration area, will feature an original copy of J. J. Thomson’s monograph that initiated the birth of mass spectrometry. A complementary display will include a collection of mass spec components and instruments, such as a miniature Nier mass spectrometer and vacuum tubes for the modern-day hand-held instruments that service a variety of applications from airport security to space exploration to the modern operating room.

Pittcon attendees will be encouraged to visit the Chemical Heritage Foundation as part of CHF’s extended hours during conference week.


In addition, CHF will be presenting the following symposium:

Instrumentation Innovation: A Personal History of Instruments and Innovation

Abstract: Breakthroughs do not occur in a vacuum—they are the products of hard work, ingenuity, inspiration, and dedication. Often, quietly lost in the shadow of great achievements are the tools that make those possible. Speakers will share the histories behind some of instrumentation’s most intriguing inventions, using the personal stories of the people who created them to shed light on the culture of innovation and the world of instrumentation.


David Brock: Instruments, Automation, Bits, and Palm Trees: Instrumentation Firms and the Early Computer Industry

This presentation treats a little-known but important intersection of the history of analytical instrumentation and the history of electronic computing. More specifically, this talk details the importance of two analytical instrumentation firms located in the Los Angeles Basin as pioneers in the electronic computer business during the 1950s: early mass spectrometer producer Consolidated Electrodynamics Corporation and instrumentation industry leader Beckman Instruments Incorporated. During the 1950s, CEC was a serious producer of digital computers and Beckman Instruments was a leader in analog computers.


Rosie Cook: More Than Black Boxes—Using Instruments to Tell the Personal Side of Chemistry

This presentation treats a little-known but important intersection of the history of analytical instrumentation and the history of electronic computing. More specifically, this talk details the importance of two analytical instrumentation firms located in the Los Angeles Basin as pioneers in the electronic computer business during the 1950s: early mass spectrometer producer Consolidated Electrodynamics Corporation and instrumentation industry leader Beckman Instruments Incorporated. During the 1950s, CEC was a serious producer of digital computers and Beckman Instruments was a leader in analog computers.


Davis Baird: Engineering Realities: Ometric, the University of South Carolina and the Birth of a New Measurement Technology

We live in a world that increasingly is designed by engineers. So it is worth asking what are engineers doing when they design. There is no simple universal answer to this question, and my strategy for answering it both acknowledges the impossibility of a simple answer and identifies and elaborates some important elements to engineering realities. I start with the simple posit that engineering a reality is about controlling aspects of that reality through designed artifice. I then “complexify” this simple idea by examining one company’s multiple contributions to engineering realities. Ometric Corporation was birthed out of the USC NanoCenter in the fall of 2004. The company makes spectrometric equipment that allows for “real time in line” analysis—and control—of materials. Markets that Ometric is focusing on include pharmaceuticals, food, and energy. But Ometric lives in an engineer’s reality while simultaneously working to engineer realities. It must survive financially, initially by selling the ideas behind its innovations to venture capitalists, and then by selling products to markets that may or may not currently exist. Ometric is the product of the University of South Carolina’s efforts to turn its intellectual property into gold for the university. Ometric, thus, is part of a larger effort to reengineer the university and its relationship to industry. My examination of Ometric identifies some key ways that “control through designed artifice” is a complex and yet prevalent and powerful force in the construction of our realities.

Link to Pittcon.org

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