On October 7, 1985, Arnold and Mabel Beckman announced a gift of $40 million for the purpose of establishing the Arnold O. and Mabel M. Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Beckman, chairman of the board of Beckman Instruments, Inc. and native of Cullom, Illinois, received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University in 1922 and his master's in physical chemistry in 1923. His gift was conditioned upon a $10 million contribution from the State of Illinois towards the construction of the facility as well as state and University support for its maintenance and operation.
The purpose of the Institute is to apply a new approach to interdisciplinary research in the biological and physical sciences. It is divided into two major areas. The Center for Materials Science, Computers, and Computing emphasizes research on solid-state materials, large-scale integration and systems, and computer and information sciences. The Center for Biology, Behavior, and Cognition focuses on research in molecular life sciences, cell biology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. The interdisciplinary nature of the Institute is intended to lead to a better understanding of human and artificial intelligence.
The Beckman Institute record group can be searched through on the Archive's Holding Database, while other relevant record series are listed below.
Theodore L. Brown Papers (Born Digital Records and Digital Surrogates): Born Digital Records and Digital Surrogates from the Theodore L. Brown Papers include presentation slides and a draft text, concerning Brown's publication "Bridging Divides: The Origins of the Beckman Institute at Illinois". This series also include a digitized audio recording of the Beckman Institute Dedication on April 6th, 1989. The presentations slides are available online. The digitized audio-recording is also available. The draft of the publication is available upon request. Physical records can be found in Record Series:15/5/44 Theodore L. Brown Papers, 1951-1996.
William T. Greenough Papers (Born Digital Records): Contains drafts of manuscripts, correspondence, research and teaching material, grant proposals, and biographical sketches concerning William T. Greenough's career as a professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Psychology, and Psychiatry, and as director for the Center for Advanced Study and his work at the Beckman Institute. Files are from Professor Greenough's laptop. Additional digital materials are available upon request. Includes complementary information about Greenough's career as director for the Center for Advanced Study and his work at the Beckman Institute as the Co-Director of the Main Research Theme Group on Biological Intelligence. Materials document research collaborations with colleagues, such as on the neurobiology of the fragile X syndrome, cellular mechanisms of memory storage, and aging, as well as his work as editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Physical records can be found in Record Series: 15/19/30 William T. Greenough Papers, 1968-2010.