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Associate Professor of Biology Matthew Beckman in science lab

Treasures in the science labs

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Augsburg’s new Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion features 24 labs and 6,000 square feet of student-faculty research facilities. In the process of moving equipment from Science Hall into the Hagfors Center, Augsburg faculty members and students sorted through devices spanning a variety of applications and a range of eras. One of the oldest pieces of “lab equipment” still in use is a Waring blender from the 1950s. Although these gadgets were initially created as kitchen tools, Matthew Beckman, associate professor of biology, said these blenders are now used in student experiments to break up tissues and show that bacteria mate by exchanging genetic material.

The newest lab device in the Biology Department is a NanoDrop spectrophotometer, which measures how much DNA or RNA a solution contains by calculating the amount of UV light it absorbs. Although initially purchased for genetics research, the device is broadly used by biologists and chemists at Augsburg. While it’s unlikely that faculty members or students have access to a spectrophotometer in their homes, Beckman said he does keep a Waring blender in his kitchen. As the saying goes, they don’t make ’em like they used to.

[Top image]: Associate Professor of Biology Matthew Beckman

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