Past Winners of the Pittcon Heritage Award

2006 Pittcon Heritage Award

The 2006 Pittcon president Kevin McKavency and CHF chancellor Arnold Thackray present the Pittcon Heritage Award to Masao Horiba.

Blaine Bowman, 2015

A. Blaine Bowman is a pioneer in the commercialization of ion chromatography and the leading figure in the success of the Dionex Corporation, now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific. Born in 1946 in Ogden, Utah, Bowman spent much of his youth in the Los Angeles area. He received a BS degree in physics from Brigham Young University in 1970, working summers as an engineer on the Apollo program at McDonnell Douglas. He then went to work for Motorola’s Semiconductor Products Division in Phoenix, Arizona, while simultaneously taking graduate courses in electrical engineering at Arizona State University. Becoming more and more interested in the business side of high technology, Bowman enrolled in Stanford University’s School of Business, graduating at the top of his class with an MBA degree in 1973.

He then took a position with McKinsey and Company and consulted for a range of industries. Eager to move from consultant to business executive, in 1977 he joined a small start-up firm, International Plasma Corporation, and became general manager of its analytical instrument division, which was then trying to commercialize ion chromatography. When Smith Kline acquired International Plasma in 1980, Bowman spun out the analytical instrument division into a new company, Dionex. At that time Bowman became president and CEO of the fledgling firm.

Under Bowman’s leadership Dionex revolutionized the field of ion analysis, reducing the cycle time and the labor involved in ion analysis. Dionex went beyond “selling a box” and developed the chemistry and software to efficiently arrive at solutions to analytical problems. Dionex was at the forefront in developing polymer-based analytical columns and pioneered inert, nonmetallic pumping technologies.

The market for ion chromatography grew dramatically. Originally used especially by power plants that were seeking to reduce the pitting of turbines, applications of ion chromatography expanded into the environmental and life sciences, each of which currently represent one-third of the ion chromatography market.

At an early stage Bowman realized that Dionex needed worldwide reach. He created its first international subsidiary in the United Kingdom in 1980 and in the following years established sales and service operations in numerous countries around the globe. By the early 2000s Dionex was selling around 70% of its volume in countries outside the United States.

Bowman remained CEO until 2002, chairman until 2005, and a director until 2011, when Dionex was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Lynwood Swanson, 2014

Lynwood W. Swanson founded FEI Company in 1973 and led this producer of electron- and ion-beam instruments for three decades. In 2012 FEI ranked among the top 15 instrumentation companies in the world.

Swanson, born in 1934 in Turlock, California, spent his early years on his family’s farm in California’s Central Valley. He attended the nearby College of the Pacific, where he became fascinated with chemistry, an interest that led him to graduate studies at the University of California, Davis, and on to a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. A postdoctoral appointment from 1959 to 1961 at the University of Chicago brought him face to face with field-emission research, which stood at the intersection of physical chemistry, surface science, and applied physics. Swanson joined the Linfield Research Institute in Oregon, a leading center of field-emission work that had been founded by renowned physicist Walter Dyke. Swanson soon became the director of basic research at a start-up company that Dyke also founded: the Field Emission Corporation (FEC), where Swanson conducted sponsored research into field-emission phenomena.

In the early 1970s Swanson became a professor of applied physics at Linfield College. In 1973 he created his own start-up, Field Electron and Ion (FEI), to commercialize field emission−based beam sources for electron microscopes and other devices. He then moved to a professorship at the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology near Hillsboro and relocated his company nearby. By the early 1980s Swanson had a substantial field-emission academic research group, and FEI had grown to become a major supplier of electron and ion sources. In these years FEI created a focused ion beam for microelectronics work for Intel Corporation, which eventually led to FEI becoming the major producer of these instruments for the semiconductor industry. In 1987 Swanson left his academic post to run FEI full time as its CEO.

Swanson personally pioneered the commercialization of advanced electron- and ion-beam sources for electron microscopy and focused ion-beam instruments. In the mid-1990s, after taking FEI public, Swanson merged FEI with Philips’s long-standing electron microscope division and with a rival ion-beam instrument producer. In the early 21st century FEI became a leading producer of scanning and transmission electron microscopes, as well as dual-beam instruments that combine focused ion beams with electron microscopy and other analytical detectors.

Swanson stepped down as CEO of FEI in 1998 and in 2002 relinquished the position of chairman. He continued to conduct research and create patents with the firm.

Günther Laukien, 2013

Born in 1924 in Eschringen, Germany, Günther Laukien was an experimental physicist, an entrepreneur, and the chief founder of Bruker Physik AG (now, the Bruker Corporation). Laukien pioneered many of the first commercially successful nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers. Laukien spearheaded the practical commercialization of NMR spectrometry and, later, Fourier-transform (FT) NMR. More than any other entrepreneur of his era, Laukien was responsible for the globalization of NMR technology.

Extensive research in NMR after receiving his Ph.D. convinced Laukien of the power and seemingly endless scope of application for the technology. In 1960 he made an entrepreneurial leap, establishing a small start-up company, Bruker Physik AG, to develop and commercialize NMR. Then located in the backyard of a Karlsruhe residence, Bruker Physik grappled both with developing NMR technology and competing with Varian, the leading manufacturer of NMR instruments at that time. After several years producing commercially successful NMR spectrometers, in 1967 the fledgling company produced its HFX-90 spectrometer, the first fully transistorized NMR spectrometer. This cutting-edge and innovative transistorization of the commercial instrument opened up new experimental possibilities to a much wider group of researchers.

The HFX-90 was only the beginning for Laukien. In the late 1960s he established the first overseas Bruker office in Elmsford, New York. From this point onward Laukien pursued a massive campaign both to produce and globalize NMR instruments. After important progress in the understanding of FT-NMR (which used Fourier transform to differentiate NMR frequencies and had unprecedented impacts on the analysis of 13C,) Bruker produced the WH-90 in 1971, the first FT-only NMR spectrometer, and went global with it. After establishing offices throughout Europe, Laukien expanded to then untapped commercial markets. By the mid-1970s Bruker’s reach and impact extended across many geopolitical boundaries; Laukien set up offices in Israel, Australia, Taiwan, and South Korea. He established a subsidiary, Bruker SA, in France and a facility in Japan, and actively sold NMR and FT-NMR instruments around the globe, even in the Soviet U.S.S.R., Eastern Europe, China, and Venezuela.

Bruker’s growth and worldwide distribution network allowed Laukien to expand into the production of new types of analytical instruments—mass spectrometers and FT-infrared spectrophotometers—as well as medical devices: mobile defibrillators and NMR tomography units for clinical imaging. Moreover, in 1978 Laukien’s global success led IBM to invest in Bruker and collaborate with it in developing and producing a broad suite of analytical instruments (like GC, LC, NMR, and IR) that were sold in the United States under the IBM label. The Bruker-IBM partnership lasted 10 years, at which time Bruker purchased IBM’s interest and integrated a portion of the partnership into its ongoing operations.  

In his later years Laukien devoted much of his time to developing mass spectrometry. He remained strongly involved in Bruker while he fought cancer in the 1990s. Günther Laukien died in 1997.

Genzo Shimadzu, Sr., and Genzo Shimadzu, Jr., 2012

Japan’s rapid modernization in the second half of the 19th century was made possible by such people of vision as Genzo Shimadzu, Sr. and Jr.

Genzo Shimadzu, Sr., began his career as a maker of Buddhist altars, but Japan’s growing interest in Western technology after 1868 opened his eyes to new opportunities. Through the Physics and Chemistry Research Institute in Kyoto, Shimadzu eagerly and quickly absorbed knowledge about new technologies. Soon he was using his mechanical abilities to repair and maintain foreign equipment, while learning everything he could about the devices he worked on. Next he began to manufacture such equipment—distillation devices, evacuation apparatus, Atwood’s machines, and even medical equipment—supplying them to Japanese schools. As his business grew, so did his reputation. In time he was invited to teach in the metal-working department of the Kyoto Prefecture Normal School.

His untimely death in 1894 at the age of 55 transferred ownership of his business to his oldest son, Umejiro, who changed his name to Genzo, determined to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Genzo Shimadzu, Jr., had grown up in the business his father created. In this environment he acquired technical and inventive skills that outstripped his father’s. With his younger brothers, Genkichi and Tsunesaburo, he took the Shimadzu business into new areas. In 1895 he created a department for science specimens. In 1897 the company launched the manufacture of storage batteries, a technology of particular importance for Japan. Shimadzu made a number of contributions in this area: most notably, he developed a revolutionary method for manufacturing high-quality reactive lead powder, an essential ingredient for storage batteries.  

Starting in 1897 Shimadzu also devoted a considerable amount of his research efforts to developing X-ray equipment, making his company a pioneer in this technology. In 1909 Shimadzu Corporation built its first medical X-ray machine, which was also the first produced in Japan. The power source was a Shimadzu storage battery.

Genzo Shimadzu, Jr.’s, efforts to create new technologies were recognized in 1930 at a dinner given by the emperor of Japan, where Shimadzu was designated one of the top 10 inventors in his country. He continued to develop new devices throughout his life. By his death in 1951 he had registered 178 inventions in 12 countries. During his lifetime Shimadzu Corporation became an innovative force, providing researchers with many tools for discovery, ranging from balances to spectrographs to industrial X-ray equipment.

George Hatsopoulos, John Hatsopoulos, and Arvin Smith, 2011

George Hatsopoulos, John Hatsopoulos, and Arvin Smith together built one of the world’s leading producers of analytical instruments: Thermo Electron.

The company was the brainchild of George Hatsopoulos, who as a boy dreamed of following in the footsteps of Thomas Edison, both as an inventor and entrepreneur. In the post-war period Hatsopoulos came to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1956. In that same year, he launched Thermo Electron.

Initially Hatsopoulos based the company on thermionic-converter technology that he had invented. In the 1970s Thermo moved into the field of instrumentation by manufacturing a chemiluminesce instrument for the auto industry. Heading this effort was Arvin Smith, who had shortly before come to Thermo from NASA.

In the mid 1980s Thermo’s instrument business really began to expand. The key to this expansion was George Hatsopoulos’s “spinout” strategy, by which Thermo created public-subsidiary companies out of its businesses while retaining a controlling stake in all of them. John Hatsopoulos, George’s younger brother and Thermo’s CFO, proved a master in selling this strategy to Wall Street.

In 1986 Smith became CEO of a Thermo spinout named Thermo Instrument Systems (THI). Over the next decade, THI acquired, developed, and spun out some of the most storied franchises in instrumentation. Smith demonstrated an incredible ability to transform troubled businesses into profitable ones, and soon THI became the largest analytical instrumentation company in the world.

By 2000, George and John Hatsopoulos had retired from their leadership of Thermo Electron, as had Smith from THI. Today the Hatsopouloses and Smith are involved in a number of ventures, including GlenRose Instruments, a venture they have launched together.

Walter Jennings, 2010

Walter Jennings is professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and cofounder of J&W Scientific. His laboratory's efforts in window diagramming, combined with research into stationary phase chemistry, led to the first synthesis of a bonded, crosslinked stationary phase whose selectivity was specifically tailored to maximize the separation factors of all solute pairs in a given mixture. Jennings was also the first to demonstrate computer-generated van Deemter plots and their use in evaluating the effects of column and operational parameters.

In collaboration with one of his doctoral students, Jennings founded J&W Scientific in 1974. J&W grew to become the world’s largest supplier of fused silica columns and was purchased in 1986 by Fisons. In 1996, a management group led by Professor Jennings and backed by the corporate buyout arm of Dillon Reade, Inc., repurchased the company.  In 2000, the company was sold to Agilent Technologies, Inc. for whom Dr. Jennings continues to function as a consultant.

Under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Jennings served as adviser in gas chromatography to the governments of Bulgaria and Poland. He has received many awards, including the Humboldt-Preis award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Founders Award in Gas Chromatography administered by the Beckman Corporation, the M.J.E. Golay Award, the Keene Dimick Award, and the A.J.P. Martin Gold Medal from the Chromatographic Society. Jennings is a past chairman of the American Chemical Society's subdivisions of Flavor Chemistry and Chromatography and Separation Science

Alfred R. Bader, 2009

Alfred Bader established the Aldrich Chemical Company, later the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, as one of the world’s leading suppliers of research chemicals. These research chemicals are essential tools for chemists of all kinds, used as key reagents and starting materials. During Bader’s long tenure at the firm, from 1951 to 1991, he oversaw the assembly of a huge library of rare chemicals—numbering nearly 50,000—in addition to thousands of more commonly used chemicals. The company’s annual catalog, which featured a red "A" on the binding and a reproduction of fine art on the cover, became widely known as "Big Red" and was often used as a reference for its physical data and structural information.

Born in 1924 in Vienna, Austria, Bader was one of the 10,000 Jewish children evacuated to the United Kingdom in 1938 as part of the Kindertransport effort. In 1940 he, along with all other male German and Austrian nationals living in the United Kingdom, was interred. Soon thereafter Bader was sent to an internment camp in Canada, where he completed his secondary education with high marks. Released in 1941, Bader won acceptance to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; he earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and history and a master’s degree in chemistry in 1947. Bader then attended Harvard University, where in 1950 he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry under the guidance of famed organic chemist Louis Fieser. In 1951 Bader and Jack Eisendrath, a lawyer, cofounded Aldrich Chemical in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to produce and supply research chemicals. Within four years, Bader and his first wife, Helen, were the sole owners of the firm, with Bader serving as president and chief chemist.

Aldrich Chemical grew rapidly during the 1950s and 1960s and expanded internationally with an emphasis on organic chemicals. In 1975 Bader merged the firm with Sigma International of St. Louis, Missouri, a leader in research biochemicals, creating the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation. He served as the new company’s chairman until 1991. From the early 1990s to the present, working closely with his second wife, Isabel, Bader has devoted himself to philanthropic efforts and to both collecting and selling Old Master paintings. In recognition of his philanthropy and his service to chemical research, Bader has received many awards and honors, including eleven honorary degrees. He has also published two volumes of his memoirs, Adventures of a Chemist Collector and Chemistry and Art: Further Adventures of a Chemist Collector.

Read an abstract of CHF's oral history interview with Dr. Bader.


Leroy Hood, 2008

Leroy Hood’s research has focused on fundamental biology and on bringing engineering to biology through development of the five instruments that constitute the technological foundation for modern molecular biology and genomics: the DNA and protein sequencers and synthesizers and the ink-jet oligonucleotide synthesizer. In particular, the DNA sequencer has revolutionized genomics by allowing the rapid automated sequencing of DNA, which played a crucial role in the successful mapping of the human genome during the 1990s.

After completing an M.D. at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, Hood began his professional career at the California Institute of Technology. There he and his colleagues pioneered four of the five instruments mentioned above. In the late 1980s Hood realized that to really understand immunology would require a systems approach, and he began thinking about systems biology.

In 1992 Hood moved to the University of Washington as founder and chairman of the Department of Molecular Biotechnology, where he developed the ink-jet oligonucleotide synthesizer, which synthesizes DNA chips, and initiated systems studies on cancer biology and prion disease. In 2000 Hood cofounded the Institute for Systems Biology, a nonprofit research institute established to pioneer systems approaches to biology and medicine, and continues to serve as its president.

The many awards and honors Hood has received include the Lasker Prize, the Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology, the Lemelson–MIT Prize for Innovation and Invention, and the Biotechnology Heritage Award. In 2007 Hood was elected to the Inventors Hall of Fame. He has received 14 honorary degrees, published more than 600 peer-reviewed papers, received 14 patents, and coauthored textbooks in biochemistry, immunology, molecular biology, and genetics. In addition he coauthored, with Dan Keveles, The Code of Codes, a popular book on the human genome project.

One of only seven scientists elected to three National Academies (the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering), Hood is also a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has played a role in founding more than 14 biotechnology companies, including Amgen, Applied Biosystems, Systemix, Darwin, and Rosetta Inpharmatics.


David Schwartz, 2007

David Schwartz, chairman of the Board of Bio-Rad Laboratories, is the quintessential entrepreneur and visionary: he doesn't see risks, he sees opportunities. Schwartz and his wife, Alice, cofounded Bio-Rad in 1952. Under his guidance, the company evolved into a global enterprise, manufacturing and distributing a broad range of products for the life science research and clinical diagnostics markets.

Bio-Rad is internationally renowned among hospitals, universities, and major research institutions, as well as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. It serves more than 85,000 research and industry customers through its global network of operations. Bio-Rad employs over 5,000 people and has grown to more than $1 billion in revenues.

Schwartz grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend college after serving in World War II as part of the Army Signal Corps. The Schwartzes first met in a class at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a degree in chemistry and she earned a degree in biochemistry. The idea that would launch Bio-Rad came about during a student bridge game in early 1952. The Schwartzes joked about products that should be available but weren't on the market, such as tobacco mosaic virus, which Alice was using for scientific research and which required many days to prepare. The following day, the Schwartzes searched their Berkeley neighborhood for a site to launch a company that would provide products and tools to researchers. They soon discovered that the world was not eagerly awaiting tobacco mosaic virus, but developed other more marketable research products that resulted in the company's survival and growth.

Schwartz was named a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003 and the organization presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award that same year. Schwartz has cofounded and served on the board of several companies, but his primary focus over the years has been fostering the growth of Bio-Rad.


Masao Horiba, 2006

A pioneer of Japanese high-tech start-ups, Masao Horiba founded Horiba Radio Laboratory in 1945, while studying at Kyoto Imperial University. In the years that followed, he developed an extremely successful pH meter for the Japanese market. This led to the establishment of HORIBA, Ltd., in 1953.

Building on this success, in 1954 he began the development of infrared gas analyzers. Applying this technology to the analysis of automobile exhaust gases, the scale and scope of the company rapidly expanded. As one of the top manufacturers of analytical instruments, HORIBA, Ltd., has continued to lead the industry through the years with innovative advances in technology.

Horiba served as chairman of the company from 1978 to 2005, guiding its continuing expansion into new areas of instrumentation and technology. While chairman, he received several awards from the Japanese government and a national Blue Ribbon Medal. In 2005 he retired from the board of directors and assumed the position of supreme counsel. Horiba continues to play a highly active role in Kyoto's start-up business community. As a special advisor to the Advanced Software Technology and Mechatronics Research Institute of Kyoto (ASTEM), one of the largest start-up incubator organizations in Japan, he has worked particularly hard to help entrepreneurs build strong, new companies. Since the establishment of the Japan Association of New Business Incubation Organization (JANBO) in 1999, he has served as a representative in this nationwide network for the support of new businesses in Japan.


Robert W. Allington, 2005

Noted entrepreneur, prolific innovator, and recipient of many business honors, Robert W. Allington was widely recogized for his achievements in the fields of analytical chemistry and instrumentation, Allington founded Isco, an internationally recognized manufacturer of instruments for water-pollution monitoring and analytical separation instruments for research and analysis. He held more than 200 U.S. and foreign patents and developed many important instrumentation technologies for separation and biological research.

Allington started Isco in his garage in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1958, and grew it into a $60-million-plus global enterprise with approximately 380 employees. He served as its CEO from 1961 until 2004, when Isco merged with Teledyne Technologies.

Allington received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, with a de facto minor in chemistry, from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL). In 1985, UNL awarded him a doctorate in chemistry. He was named the 1985 National Small Business Person of the year by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the 1991 Research and Development Executive of the Year by R&D Magazine.

He served on the boards of the Lincoln Foundation, Nebraska Polio Survivors Association, and League of Human Dignity, and on the Chemistry Industrial Advisory Board of UNL and the Lincoln City–Lancaster County Planning Commission. He also served on the board of the Nebraska Research and Development Authority and was chairman of the Nebraska EPSCoR board.


Paul A. Wilks, Jr., 2004

A universally acknowledged authority on infrared (IR) spectroscopy, Paul Wilks is credited with making IR spectroscopy widely used in industrial, academic, and research applications around the world, playing an important role in exploring, developing, and marketing innovations in IR. His long-time objective is to move IR technology out of the laboratory and into the real world of process monitoring and field analysis and, eventually, into the household.

Wilks pioneered the commercial development of IR-absorption cells and the commercial applications of attenuated total reflection, one of the most widely used sampling methods today. He also played a lead role in the evolution of gas chromatography (GC) IR: his light-pipe modification of the Perkin-Elmer 137 IR resulted in the first IR spectrophotometer dedicated to doing GC-IR work. Wilks also recognized the importance of circular variable filters, which he used at Wilks Enterprises to create a series of small, portable gas analyzers adopted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to monitor toxic gases in the workplace.

As an active member of the instrument community, Wilks helped found the Coblentz Society in 1954, which honored him with the Williams-Wright Award in 1981. He has been an exhibitor at every Pittcon conference since the first meeting in 1950.

CHF gratefully acknowledges Varian for its support of the 2004 Pittcon Heritage Award and associated heritage activities.


Kathryn Hach-Darrow, 2003

Kathryn Hach-Darrow was president, chief operating officer, and CEO of the Hach Company, a global public firm focused on water analysis and testing that she and her husband founded in 1947. Until the firm’s sale in 1999, she oversaw business operations, marketing, and other managerial aspects of the company.

Hach products have enabled municipal water suppliers around the world to assure the quality of drinking water, monitor sewage treatment, and improve water reclamation. In 1987 the Hach Company was elected "Best Company" in northeastern Colorado.

Hach-Darrow is legendary in her field for flying a small, private plane to cities and towns around the country to work on-site with managers of water-treatment facilities. She has been awarded several honors including the American Water Works Association's George Fuller Award (with her husband) and an Outstanding Business Leaders Award from Northwood University. Hach-Darrow was the first woman director of the American Water Works Association and in 2000 was voted a member of the Colorado Business Hall of Fame. In 1982 the Hachs established the Hach Scientific Foundation to support science education by sponsoring student tuition and teacher education.

The 2003 Pittcon Heritage Award was sponsored by the Hach Company. CHF is grateful to the Hach Company, Thermo Finnigan, Thermo Nicolet Corporation, and the Waters Corporation for underwriting CHF’s participation in Pittcon 2003.


David Nelson, 2002

David Nelson, the first recipient of the Pittcon Heritage Award, brought the automation and productivity benefits of personal computers to the field of chromatography, an innovation that promoted wider use of these tools for analytical studies in the areas of forensic science, pharmaceutical drug discovery, and environmental remediation.

Nelson started his career at Beckman Instruments and worked at Cary Instruments and Hewlett-Packard before launching Nelson Analytical in 1980 with his partner Harmon Brown. They developed the first chromatography data system (CDS) software for desktop computers and soon created Turbochrom, the first CDS system for MS Windows. In 1989, Nelson Analytical was acquired by Perkin-Elmer and became the PE-Nelson division. Nelson held several positions at Perkin-Elmer, including vice president of strategic marketing, before retiring in 1991. He then started Nelson Consulting, which advises companies on restructuring and special market planning.

In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Nelson helped organize the Centcom Breakfast at Pittcon during the 1980s, an annual gathering of senior industry managers and professionals. He also served as chairman of the Communications Standards Committee for the Analytical Instruments Association.

Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.


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