Masao Horiba gets Pittcon Heritage Award

E-Separation Solutions

The Chemical Heritage Foundation presented the fifth annual Pittcon Heritage Award to Masao Horiba, the founder of HORIBA, Ltd., on Sunday afternoon at the opening ceremony of Pittcon 2006.

The Chemical Heritage Foundation presented the fifth annual Pittcon Heritage Award to Masao Horiba, the founder of HORIBA, Ltd., on Sunday afternoon at the opening ceremony of Pittcon 2006.

Masao Horiba

The award, jointly sponsored by Pittcon and the Chemical Heritage Foundation, recognizes individuals "whose entrepreneurial careers shaped the instrumentation community, inspired achievement, promoted public understanding of the modern instrumentation sciences, and highlighted the role of analytical chemistry in world economies."

At the award ceremony, a two-minute movie took the audience through the life of Masao Horiba. It began with black and white depictions of his childhood and ended with a recent interview, at which he discussed how his life has changed over the years.

In his acceptance speech, Horiba expressed surprise and gratitude. "Sixty years have passed since I started making the first Horiba pH meter," he said. Then he recounted his innovative career that started at the end of World War II when he was a junior majoring in physics at the Kyoto Imperial University.

He also shared his personal challenges with the audience. "Recently I have been suffering from severe malfunctioning of my body parts," he said. He told the audience that he has undergone therapy for cancer twice. He attributed his success in these battles to medical advances.

Horiba founded the Horiba Radio Laboratory in 1945, while at Kyoto Imperial University. Soon after, he developed Japan's first electrode-type pH meter for fluid analysis, which led to the establishment of HORIBA Ltd. in 1953. A year later, he began research on infrared measurement for analyzing gases and began applying the technology to products for the measurement of air pollution and vehicle exhaust.

Along the way, he took his research and development experience further by undertaking the study of medicine. In 1961, he was awarded a doctoral degree in medicine.

In 1978, he became chairman of HORIBA. Through the years, the company has been one of the top analytical instrument manufacturers and has excelled through its adoption of the corporate policy of "Joy and Fun." Just as his company has been recognized for being one of the top entities in the industry and for advancing technology through innovations, Horiba has been recognized and awarded multiple times by the Japanese government. He has had the honor of receiving the national Blue Ribbon Medal.

Last year, Horiba retired from the board of directors to become supreme counsel. Since then, he has turned his attention to the city of Kyoto and its business community. He is actively involved in supporting Kyoto's start-up business community as a member of the Advanced Software Technology and Mechatronics Research Institute (ASTEM), which is one of Japan's largest start-up incubator organizations. In addition, he represents the Japan Association of New Business Incubation Organizations, a national network that supports new businesses in Japan.

By presenting Horiba with the Pittcon Heritage Award, the Chemical Heritage Foundation has recognized Horiba's 60 years of entrepreneurship and leadership. The foundation serves the chemical and molecular sciences community as well as the wider public.