History of the Ultracentrifuge Videohistory Interviews,
2007

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 9625
Dates:
2007
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
The Smithsonian Videohistory Program, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation from 1986 until 1992, used video in historical research. Additional collections have been added since the grant project ended. Videohistory uses the video camera as a historical research tool to record moving visual information. Video works best in historical research when recording people at work in environments, explaining artifacts, demonstrating process, or in group discussion. The experimental program recorded projects that reflected the Institution's concern with the conduct of contemporary science and technology.
Smithsonian historians participated in the program to document visual aspects of their on-going historical research. Projects covered topics in the physical and biological sciences as well as in technological design and manufacture. To capture site, process, and interaction most effectively, projects were taped in offices, factories, quarries, laboratories, observatories, and museums. Resulting footage was duplicated, transcribed, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution Archives for scholarship, education, and exhibition. The collection is open to qualified researchers.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
Ramunas Kondratas, National Museum of American History, conducted videotaped interviews at Spinco to document the history of ultracentrifuge technology. Interviewees included Phyllis, M. Browning, Michael Cahn, Robert Stanley Carey, Robert E. Cunningham, Noli L. de la Cruz, James D. Duty, Giancarlo Ernoli, Jack Finney, Robert C. Franklin, Robert Frederito, Scott Gammon, Brian George, Dean Hanquist, Robert Indig, Kenneth C. Johnson, Eva T. Juhos, Benson Kwan, C. Richard McEwen, Frank Meze, Patrick O. Moore, James C. Osborne, Mehmet Pamukco, Fred J. Pisturino, Frank Richards, Ron Ridgeway, Louis T. Rosso, Howard K. Schachman, Karen F. Shore, Robert Slocum, Carol Smith, Paul Voelker, Eugene B. West, and James Woodall, at Beckman Coulter, Spinco Division, in Palo Alto and Fullerton, California. Participants discussed the history and development of ultracentrifuge technology, research and development, the commercial manufacture of the equipment, drive and heat-sink assembly, optics assembly, business and marketing. Visual documentation included tours of research and manufacturing facilities.
This collection is comprised of 24 interview sessions, totaling approximately 14 hours of recording. There are one or more original videotapes for each session. In total, this collection is comprised of 24 original analog and digital video tapes and transcripts. There are two generations of recordings for each session: analog and digital videotape originals and digital video reference copies.

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Ultracentrifuge has played an important role in modern biotechnology. The ultracentrifuge is a centrifuge optimized for spinning a rotor at very high speeds, capable of generating acceleration as high as 2,000,000 G (approx 19,600 km/s2). There are two kinds of ultracentrifuges, the preparative and the analytical ultracentrifuge. Both classes of instruments find important uses in molecular biology, biochemistry, and polymer science. The analytical ultracentrifuge was invented in 1925 by Theodor Svedberg, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on colloids and proteins using the ultracentrifuge.
Edward Greydon Pickles developed the vacuum ultracentrifuge which allowed a reduction in friction generated at high speeds and enabled the maintenance of constant temperature. In 1946, Pickles cofounded Spinco (Specialized Instruments Corporation) and marketed a vacuum ultracentrifuge. The original machine design was complicated to operate, so he developed a more user-friendly version, but initial use of the technology remained low. Spinco almost went bankrupt, but Pickles persisted, and in 1947 Spinco was the first to commercially manufacture ultracentrifuges. In 1949, Spinco introduced the Model L, the first preparative ultracentrifuge to reach a maximum speed of 40,000 rpm. In 1954, Beckman Instruments (now Beckman Coulter) purchased the company, forming the basis of its Spinco centrifuge division, which has developed both preparative and analytical centrifuges.

Notes
Oral Histories

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9625, History of the Ultracentrifuge Videohistory Interviews
Use Restriction
Restricted. Contact reference staff for details.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Browning, Phyllis M. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cahn, Michael Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carey, Robert Stanley Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cunningham, Robert E. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
de la Cruz, Noli L. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Duty, James D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ernoli, Giancarlo Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Finney, Jack Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Franklin, Robert C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Frederito, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gammon, Scott Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
George, Brian Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hanquist, Dean Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indig, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Johnson, Kenneth C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Juhos, Eva Th. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kwan, Benson Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McEwen, C. Richard Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Meze, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Moore, Patrick O. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Osborne, James C. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pamukcu, Mehmet Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pisturino, Fred J. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richards, Frank Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ridgeway, Ron Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rosso, Louis T. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schachman, Howard K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Shore, Karen F. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Slocum, Robert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Carol Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Voelker, Paul Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
West, Eugene B. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Woodall, James Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kondratas, Ramunas Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beckman Coulter (Firm) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Science -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Biotechnology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scientific apparatus and instruments Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Centrifuges Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technology -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fullerton (Calif.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Palo Alto (Calif.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Video recordings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu