centrifuge is an instrument that spins mixtures
of materials around at high speeds in order
to separate heavier from lighter materials.
For example, after an E. coli cell has been
ruptured, experimentalists can use a centrifuge
to separate the cell sap from the heavier components of the cells. The
lighter cell sap, containing the DNA, mRNA, and enzymes, could then be
used for further experimentation.
The centrifuge in the Stetten Museum collection
was donated by DuPont's Biotechnology
Systems Division on the occasion of the 100th
anniversary of the founding of the NIH. Its
plaque reads: In honor of Marshall W.
Nirenberg for his pioneering experiments which
led to the elucidation of the genetic code.