Oral history interview with Arthur L. Babson

Oral history interview with Arthur L. Babson

  • 2011-Dec-06 (First session )
  • 2011-Dec-08 (Second session )

Arthur L. Babson grew up in Essex Fells, New Jersey. Babson began college and the Army Special Training Reserve Program at Rutgers University but was expelled for missing a single class. He then worked in a laboratory at American Dyewood until he was drafted. From Camp Kilmer he ended up in Japan, shortly after the atomic bombs were dropped; there he worked as a cook and on a wire crew -- adding an instrument to his truck to assist with wire deployment and re-coiling -- and he served on guard duty, where he developed booby-traps to alert him to anyone's approach. When he left the service and returned to the United States, he matriculated into Cornell University, where his father and brother had gone. He majored in zoology, took biochemistry, and decided to attend Rutgers. He worked on protein nutrition in cancerous rats in James Allison's lab and decided to get a PhD with Allison.

Babson accepted a good offer from Ulrich Solmssen to work at Warner-Chilcott Laboratories back in New Jersey. It was there that Babson's career in diagnostics was launched. Tasked with developing a serum standard, he and his assistants invented Versatol, then Versatol-E (enzyme), which were successful for years; then they invented PhosphaTabs. Automating clinical chemistry started to emerge as Babson's core interest and it became a clear program at Warner-Lambert, though Warner-Lambert's Robot Chemist lost out to Technicon's AutoAnalyzer. At Warner, Babson moved up in administration, moved away from the bench, and became Vice President of Research for General Diagnostics.
Babson started his own company, Babson Research Laboratories, in his home. He patented a refinement of Blood Gas Control. He consulted for Ortho Diagnostics. Then he began work on a device to automate immunoassays (later named IMMULITE). Babson designed the Cardiac Risk Profiler to automate lipid profile diagnosis, but he was never able to sell it. From Babson's perspective, the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act ended any hope for the CRP due to greater regulations for laboratories.

Place of interview
Original file type PDF, FLAC
  • 245 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
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Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

Arthur L. Babson, interviewed by Sarah L. Hunter-Lascoskie in Flanders, New Jersey on December 6, 2011. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0681. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/r494vm198.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

2 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads