Arnold O. Beckman Legacy Project

Mabel and Arnold O. Beckman

Mabel and Arnold O. Beckman.

The legacy of Dr. Arnold O. Beckman and his wife, Mabel, is one of enabling—through building both the technological and organizational infrastructure that supports new breakthroughs in science. Whether through pursuing a better understanding of an environmental threat to the Los Angeles basin, building new materials for solar-energy capture and storage, or creating stronger bridges between medical research and patient care, their reach is long and their support enduring. 

Over the next four years CHF will guide a research team aimed at understanding the powerful enabling role Arnold and Mabel Beckman have played through studies of the institutes and award program that carry their name. The team will conduct oral histories and archival research at each of the Beckman Institutes to elucidate the founding principles that gave rise to some of the most productive research institutes in the country. Additional oral histories will be conducted with researchers who have been supported by the Beckman Young Investigators Award, a program aimed at early-career scientists who show strong potential across a diversity of fields. Working with CHF’s archivists, the research team will explore the connections between the research undertaken by Dr. Beckman himself and by contemporary researchers who work as part of the ongoing Beckman legacy in science, technology, and medicine.

In keeping with CHF’s mission to cultivate and support a conversation about science, technology, and society, this research will be shared with the broader public in multiple ways. First, as one of the key supporters of research into the history of science, CHF is committed to making available its own research and primary-source materials to others who might make use of them. This includes sharing newly conducted and previously completed oral histories, making portions of Dr. Beckman’s archives available electronically, and creating connections among our multiple holdings. CHF will also translate this research for audiences that we meet in our museum, through our public programming, and online. As such, we will work in the coming years to make the lives and legacy of Arnold and Mabel Beckman accessible to broader audiences through a documentary produced for television, through our museum, through live events featuring our researchers, and through digital media, including interviews and other videos posted to our website.

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