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History of BME

 

Georgia Tech Provost and Vice President Michael E. Thomas and the Emory Dean of Medicine Thomas J. Lawley established an Advisory Committee of Georgia Tech and Emory faculty to address new opportunities in biomedical engineering. The Committee met initially on June 2, 1997 and was charged to develop a set of recommendations for an innovative and unique Department of Biomedical Engineering that is joint with Georgia Tech and Emory and that will enable both institutions to maximize research and educational opportunities in fields of intersecting biomedical interest. The Committee was required to report to Drs. Thomas and Lawley no later than August 15, 1997.

 

The biomedical engineering program is named in honor of Wallace Henry Coulter

Recognized as one of the most influential inventors of the twentieth century, Wallace Coulter studied electronics as a student at Georgia Tech in the early 1930s. Mr. Coulter developed the "Coulter Principle," a theory that gave birth to both the automated hematology industry and the field of industrial fine particle counting. His "Coulter Counter," a blood cell analyzer, is used to perform one of medicine's most often-requested and informative diagnostic tests, the complete blood count. With his entrepreneurial insight, Mr. Coulter positioned the Coulter Corporation as the undisputed leader in the diagnostic industry. In October 1997, the Coulter Corporation was acquired by Beckman Instruments, Inc., and is now known as Beckman-Coulter, Inc. For more information, see www.whcf.org

 

The biomedical engineering building on the Georgia Tech campus is named in honor of Uncas A. Whitaker

Born to a Missouri legislator, Uncas Whitaker spent his boyhood and received his early education in Missouri. After receiving mechanical and electrical engineering degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Institute of Technology, respectively, and a law degree from the McKinley School of Law, in 1941 he founded the company that became AMP, Inc. In less than twenty years he developed his company into one of the giants of American industry. In the early 1960's, Mr. Whitaker and others envisioned a thriving new field that combined engineering and medicine to improve health care--biomedical engineering. Realization of this vision was aided by his many contributions during his lifetime and the establishment of the Whitaker Foundation shortly after his death in 1975.

 


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