Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

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For the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology, see List of California Institute of Technology buildings and facilities.
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
The building of the Beckman Institute
Established 1989
Focus Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures
Director Arthur F. Kramer
Location Urbana, Illinois, United States of America
Address 405 North Mathews Avenue

The Beckman Institute is a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dedicated to doing interdisciplinary research. A gift from scientist, businessman, and philanthropist Arnold O. Beckman (1900-2004) and his wife Mabel, led to the building of the Institute, which opened in 1989. Current research at Beckman involves the areas of nanoscale structures and processes, biological intelligence, imaging science, and human-computer interactions. Researchers in these areas work across traditional academic boundaries in scientific projects that can lead to the development of real-world applications in medicine, industry, electronics, and human health across the lifespan. [1]


The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology has its origins in a 1983 meeting about using private sources to fund new large-scale science projects and centers on the University of Illinois campus. Two years later, Arnold and Mabel Beckman made the largest donation ever given to a public university at that time – $40M, with a $10M supplement from the state of Illinois – to build a center at Illinois that would have an approach to doing research that encouraged scientists and engineers from different disciplines to work together. In April 1989, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology officially opened as one of the first research centers in the world dedicated to interdisciplinary research. Today, more than 1,000 faculty members from more than 40 University of Illinois departments work with postdoctoral and research scientists, and graduate and undergraduate students in doing science in a wide variety of areas. [2] [3]


Scientific exploration at the Beckman Institute is centered around four broad research themes: Biological Intelligence, Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction, Integrative Imaging, and Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures.

The Biological Intelligence research theme (BioIntel) is comprehensive in scope, as researchers seek to understand the brain, cognition, and behavior from the molecular and cellular levels to higher expressions of intelligence like memory, attention, and human behavior. BioIntel research groups include Cognitive Science (higher mental processes, such as language, memory, information processing, and learning), Cognitive Neuroscience (the relationships between brain physiology and structure and cognitive functions like memory, emotion, and attention), and NeuroTech (brain organization and function, including how information is coded and processed by neural systems and the molecular and cellular origins of disorders and brain plasticity).

The Human-Computer Intelligent Interaction (HCII) research theme seeks to enhance human-machine interface design through the optimization of state-of-the-art technology development and engineering of multimodal interface design concepts. HCII also explores the mechanisms of human perception, cognition, and action that are relevant to industrial, military, and consumer products. Projects in HCII involve the close collaboration of computer scientists, electrical engineers, neuroscientists, linguists, psychologists, and others in pursuit of knowledge involving the human-machine interface. Research groups include Artificial Intelligence, Human Perception and Performance, and Image Formation and Processing.

The Integrative Imaging (IntIm) research theme is geared toward the interdisciplinary discovery of fundamental principles in imaging science, and developing new technologies for the next generation of imaging instruments and novel techniques for basic and translational research. Many researchers in the IntIm theme are working on biomedical applications for use in medicine, such as handheld devices for fast, accurate clinical use, and advanced imaging techniques for diagnosis at the molecular level. Research groups within IntIm include the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory and the Bioimaging Science and Technology group.

The Molecular and Electronic Nanostructures (M&ENS) research theme brings together scientists from disciplines like biology and engineering, and physics and chemistry, toward both understanding and working with, nanoscale structures and processes. The five research groups comprising M&ENS are: 3-D Micro- and Nanosystems, Autonomous Materials Systems, Computational Multiscale Nanosystems, and Nanoelectronics and Nanomaterials. Within these groups, M&ENS researchers develop and use computational tools for simulating biological processes and for designing nanosystems, fashion nanoelectronics for applications in biomedicine and consumer products, and construct autonomous multifunctional materials systems.

Beckman Open House[edit]

The Beckman Open House is a biennial event that is held in conjunction with UIUC Engineering Open House. The Beckman Open House features displays by scientists, engineers, and other researchers working there. The 2011 Open House was held on March 11–12, 2011. The 2009 Open House was held on March 13–14, 2009. The 2007 Open House was held on March 9–10, 2007. The 2013 Open House was held on March 8–9, 2013.

On alternate years, the Illinois Simulator Laboratory holds its Open House, which includes an FAA-certified flight simulator, the CAVE and Cube 3-D immersive virtual reality environments, a driving simulator, and other immersive visualization tools.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  2. ^ Bridging Divides: The Origins of the Beckman Institute at Illinois
  3. ^ Arnold O. Beckman: 100 Years of Excellence

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°06′57″N 88°13′39″W / 40.115720°N 88.227390°W / 40.115720; -88.227390