I AM WRITING this letter to correct a major misrepresentation of a fact that was made in “The Art of Science” concerning the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) exhibit (C&EN, Oct. 27, 2008, page 34).
The article erroneously claims that “the project is the culmination of an idea conceived 10 years ago by Arnold Thackray, chancellor and founding president of CHF.” The simple truth is that the inspiration for this project was first discussed by John Ferarro of Argonne National Laboratory and me in Beckman Instrument’s booth at the 1990 Pittsburgh Conference nearly 19 years ago, not 10 years ago as claimed.
The inspiration for the scientific exhibit was Ferraro’s alone, and he worked very hard with the scientific community, including forming a Society for Applied Spectroscopy committee to ensure that an educational display of pioneering and landmark instruments was eventually implemented. Since this discussion, Ferraro actively worked with Pittcon (note their popular “historical museum” at each meeting that began more than a decade ago) and we met with officials at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago. As a member of the Beckman Historical Committee (now Beckman Heritage Council) from 1986 through 1993, I strongly encouraged Ferraro to communicate his ideas directly to Arnold O. Beckman, first in the form of a letter seeking Beckman’s support and requesting an instrument exhibit at CHF.
I can relate personally that Beckman was very happy to support these educational opportunities. Needless to say, Ferraro also worked in the early 1990s with officials at CHF to implement the museum of which we are all so proud.
I hope you set the record straight and to give Ferarro due credit for his inspiration and all of his subsequent efforts to make sure that his idea was implemented.
Robert J. Jarnutowski