Pittcon Heritage Award

Kenji Kazato

Kenji Kazato

Kazuo Ito

Kazuo Ito

2016 Winners: Kenji Kazato and Kazuo Ito

Kenji Kazato and Kazuo Ito were selected by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) to receive the 2016 Pittcon Heritage Award. The award was presented in Atlanta on March 6 during Pittcon 2016.

About the Awardees

Scientists in Japan gathered in 1939 to decide on the best way to build an electron microscope. After World War II this group was led by Kenji Kazato and Kazuo Ito, who met during the war while working at the Navy Central Research Institute. Following the war they realized that Japan’s reconstruction would depend on home-grown advances in science and technology. In 1947 they introduced a prototype magnetic field–type electron microscope: the DA-1. In 1949 Kazato and Ito led their team to found Japan Electron Optics Laboratory Company (JEOL), with Kazato presiding over the 10-person company.

Just a few months after the company’s founding, they brought to market JEOL’s first electron microscope, the JEM-1. This model was an improved version of the instrument they had developed in 1947, and it proved particularly useful in researching crystallization.

Though JEOL made a name for itself in its home market, recognition from abroad did not come until later. It was not until 1955 that the company received an order from the French Atomic Energy Commission for the JEM-5G electron microscope.

Building on its success in electron microscopy, JEOL moved into the field of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). In 1956 it launched the JNM-1, Japan’s first NMR system. The company then moved rapidly into manufacturing other types of scientific instruments, such as the electron spin resonance spectrometer, as well as clinical diagnostic systems.

The company was renamed JEOL Ltd. in 1961. The following year JEOL was listed on the Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Soon after, the company established its first subsidiary, JEOL Co. (USA), Inc., and by 1966 JEOL was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s JEOL continued to develop electron microscopes. In 1964 it unveiled the JEM-7, which guaranteed the highest resolution at that time and was the first to incorporate an electrical adjustment of the lens axis. This innovation was incorporated in 1968 into the JEM-100B and its successors, which also featured an electromagnetic deflection unit and electromagnetic stigmator. In the same year JEOL brought to market the JLC-5AH, the world’s first amino acid analyzer. In 1976 JEOL’s electron microscope took the world’s first photomicrograph of atomic arrangement.

Kazato was honored as chairman of the Japanese Society of Electron Microscopy in 1968. In 1975 he retired as president of JEOL and became adviser until his death in 2012. Ito served as president of JEOL from 1982 to 1987. Under his direction JEOL made important advances in software development. In 1984 Ito established the long-term management vision “V-90” for the company’s future direction. 

About the Pittcon Heritage Award

The Pittcon Heritage Award is jointly sponsored by the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) and the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF). This award recognizes outstanding individuals whose entrepreneurial careers shaped the instrumentation and laboratory supplies community, inspired achievement, promoted public understanding of the modern instrumentation sciences, and highlighted the role of analytical chemistry in world economies.

The award is presented annually at a special ceremony during Pittcon. The recipient’s name and achievements are added to a roster of Pittcon Hall of Fame members that includes such industry pioneers as Arnold Beckman, Robert Finnigan, Chester Fisher, Aaron Martin, James Waters, and others.

About the Sponsors

Pittcon is the largest and most inclusive conference and exposition on laboratory science and instrumentation in the world. The annual event brings together more than 30,000 conferees and exhibitors from more than 70 countries.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) fosters dialogue on science and technology in society. Our staff and fellows study the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. We focus on matter and materials and their effects on our modern world in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies. We collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.

Pittcon Hall of Fame

Click here to learn more about the pioneers of chemical instrumentation.

Past Winners

Click here to see the past recipients of the Pittcon Heritage Award.

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