The Beckman Institute is a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dedicated to interdisciplinary research. A gift from scientist, businessman, and philanthropist Arnold O. Beckman (1900-2004) and his wife Mabel (1900-1989) led to the building of the Institute which opened in 1989. It is one of five institutions which receive support from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation on an ongoing basis. Current research at Beckman involves the areas of nanoscale structures and processes, biological intelligence, imaging science, and human-computer interaction. 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.HistoryThe Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology has its origins in a 1983 meeting in which chancellor John E. Cribbet, Theodore L. Brown, Mort Weir, Lewis Barron and Ned Goldwasser strategized about approaching private sources to fund new large-scale science projects and centers on the University of Illinois campus. Two committees were formed, chaired by William T. Greenough (psychology) and Greg Stillman (electrical and computer engineering) (later Karl Hess) to develop ideas for a broadly multidisciplinary research facility. Thomas Eugene Everhart, who succeeded Cribbet as chancellor in 1984, and Sarah Wasserman, assistant vice-chancellor for research, helped Brown and Weir to review and develop the final proposal. The committee reports were combined to propose an institute with two main divisions, a center for biology, behavior, and cognition, and another center for materials science, computers and computation. The institution's research program would explore intelligence in the broadest possible sense, extending "from artificial systems invented by man to natural systems found in the biological world".