Meeting Places Serve Important Function

From the first architectural designs, spaces for meetings and conferences that faculty and others could use were included as integral parts of the Beckman Institute facility. The Institute plays host to everything from conferences attracting scientists from around the world to group meetings for Beckman research groups.

From the first architectural designs, space that faculty and others could use for their group meetings, seminars, and conferences was included as an integral part of the Beckman Institute facility. Offices and laboratories for the Institute’s researchers and their work were of prime importance in designing the building, but significant space was also devoted in the original plans for the related and scientifically important mission of sharing knowledge through seminars, symposia, and group meetings.

Toward that end, 17 rooms at the Institute are used for everything from regular meetings by Beckman research groups to conferences and seminars featuring top scientists from around the world. Rooms range in size from those accommodating as few as 10 people to the Beckman Auditorium which can hold an audience of 230 people. In addition, the Beckman atrium is often used for conference poster sessions and receptions.

In the past few years the Beckman Institute has played host to several major seminars and conferences. The BCS Theory of Superconductivity 50th Anniversary Conference held in early 2008 brought together the two living members of that theory’s Nobel Prize-winning team, Leon Cooper and Robert Schrieffer, along with some of the leading physicists in the world, to discuss the ramifications of one of the most important scientific discoveries of the past century. The life of another Nobel Prize winner, Paul Lauterbur, was celebrated in March at Beckman when leading scientists in the field of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, a technology he helped discover, came to campus to celebrate and memorialize his life with a symposium.

In addition, each year the University of Illinois holds its CAPE Awards ceremony honoring academic professionals in the Beckman atrium, while the campus deans meet regularly at the Institute.    

The job of coordinating meeting space for various purposes is done by the Beckman Institute’s Office of Space Reservations. The office works to meet a myriad of needs that arise with meetings great and small, including working with groups to reserve rooms and setting up the rooms to serve the desired purpose of its users and with the proper technology. The Space Reservations office is the first stop for faculty members and others interested in using one of the facility’s wide array of meeting places.

In providing meeting spaces, the first goal, according to the Space Reservation Web site, is to “include a number of seminar and meeting rooms in support of the research programs conducted in the building” and to ensure that the “use of meeting rooms by others does not compromise the ability of the Institute’s research groups to conduct scientific and technical meetings.”

In order to accomplish those goals, the Web site lists priorities for usage of Beckman meeting rooms, starting with Beckman research groups, followed by central and campus administrative units. Other groups and individuals who may use the facilities include researchers and organizations doing work related to Beckman research areas, campus units unrelated to Institute research and, rarely, off-campus organizations.

There are several large meeting rooms such as the Beckman Auditorium and room 1005, while the four Beckman tower rooms often serve medium-sized groups. Smaller conference rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors are often used by Beckman research groups for regular meetings.  

Kathy Harper oversees space reservations at Beckman, while Denise Lewis is the contact person for both internal and external requests. Aaron Cohen and Chris Roberts are in charge of making sure the rooms are set up according to the group’s needs, while Jim Farrar provides technical assistance for audio/visual, Power Point and other presentations. Research group secretaries coordinate scheduling for the smaller conference rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors.

Harper said that the Institute’s philosophy is to do the best job possible of meeting space needs with the available resources. Spaces are often booked well ahead of time, so checking with the Space Reservations office early on is a good strategy.

“We appreciate people letting us know things as far ahead of time as possible,” she said. 

Much more information can be found on the Space reservations Web site.

Questions concerning space reservations and guidelines can be sent to .