A Walk Around the Promega Campus: Honoring Some of the Greats of Science

Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

The Promega campus in Madison, Wisconsin has been fortunate to welcome several new buildings in recent years. While some of the older buildings are fondly known by their acronyms – BTC for BioPharmaceutical Technology Center and RDC for Research & Development Center – other names are more descriptive. Notice a particular theme to these buildings’ names: Faraday, Franklin, da Vinci, Feynman, Kepler? Legendary scientists all, with visionary minds, they serve to inspire and remind us of the possibilities that Promega employees can achieve.

Given the impressive pool of Nobel Prize recipients, inventors and innovators to consider as namesakes of Promega buildings, why were these particular individuals chosen? And, who exactly were they?

There was plenty of thoughtful discussion behind each building’s name with input across the company. Here’s a quick look at how some of these names came about and the accomplishments of each scientist chosen to represent Promega’s growing campus.

Feynman Center: During much of its construction phase, this building remained nameless and was referred to simply as the “GMP Building.” But about six months prior to its ribbon cutting ceremony in the fall of 2013, the big reveal was made. Richard Feynman was chosen as the scientist we honor in this 260,000 square foot facility devoted to cGMP manufacturing as well as training and community spaces.

Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965, Richard Feynman was considered a modern day Renaissance person. He was admired for his ability to take highly complex concepts about his area of expertise, quantum physics, and translate them in a way that most could grasp and appreciate. His science was revered for its ability to connect with the arts and creative visualization – a connection that the building aspires to emulate through its design.

da Vinci building: This building was completed in early 2014 and designed to provide the core function of supporting Promega’s growing manufacturing operations. It houses the tools and personnel needed to provide facility services to the main campus and branches. Named after Leonardo da Vinci, recognized as the prime exemplar of the Renaissance man, the building is meant to capture and apply da Vinci’s unparalleled talents as an artist, innovator and engineer.

The da Vinci building is specially equipped to design, fabricate, build and test automated equipment. It includes an electronics shop and rough metals fabrication shop to support those functions, and it also serves to assemble automated equipment and testing in a clean environment.

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler

Kepler Center: The newest building on the Promega campus opened its doors in 2015. Named after Johannes Kepler, a 17th century mathematician, astronomer and physicist, Kepler is well known for authoring the Laws of Planetary Motion which described the motion of the planets around the sun. As a processing center, the building is symbolic of motion as it packages, moves and distributes products throughout the world in a flexible and efficient manner.

Rosalind Franklin Center: This building, one of the few satellite facilities not located on the main Promega campus in Madison, was named after the British born chemist and x-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin. Franklin’s success in creating X-ray diffraction images of DNA laid the groundwork for James Watson and Francis Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In addition to her work on DNA, she was a pioneer in elucidating the molecular structures of viruses.  The Rosalind Franklin Center pays tribute to her achievements in housing the large scale manufacturing of proteins for various Promega products.

And going back in time, one of the early Promega buildings, the Faraday Center, was named in the mid-1980s for Michael Faraday. Considered to be one of the best experimentalists in the history of science, Faraday was a pioneer in the fields of electromagnetic conduction and electromagnetism. His name was chosen to grace one of the first Promega buildings in honor of the contributions he made as an innovator of science.

Honoring some of the great scientists of the ages is just one small way Promega strives to create a workplace brings more meaning to its employees. Go inside some of these buildings and …well…that’s a topic for another post!

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Nicole Sandler

Nicole enjoys being a member of the Promega Connections blog team. A former molecular biologist, she earned her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania but realized that writing about science was a more fulfilling way to apply her knowledge and passion for the field. She's excited that her longtime writing career has now landed her at Promega, a company she once relied on for restriction enzymes and buffers as a research scientist.

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