Lessons I’ve Learned, with Hernan Cortes
Hernan Cortes spent three decades at the Dow Chemical Company, where he carried out groundbreaking research in multidimensional chromatography before saying farewell to the corporate world and setting up as a consultant. Here, Hernan shares what he’s learned about gaining recognition as an industry scientist, the chromatography ‘family’, and the secret to true happiness…
Hernan Cortes |
There are great opportunities in industry
I joined Dow in 1978, intending to stay for a couple of years; in fact, I worked there for 31, starting as a chemist and ending up as a senior scientist. My interest has always been in separations, and the company was very supportive of research in the field – Dow scientists invented gel permeation chromatography (GPC), ion chromatography, and hydrodynamic chromatography, among other notable inventions. The company provided the opportunity to do cutting-edge research in micro-column and multidimensional chromatography, to write, edit and publish a book, to publish close to 100 papers, and to interact with academics in the field.
Not many people in industry take advantage of the opportunities on offer. Being part of a large company – particularly working in analytical sciences – one gets exposed to a multitude of areas; I worked on everything from high polymers to pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals – and that breadth of experience enriched me.
I retired from Dow in 2009. For me, it was time to step out of corporate America – but it was a very fruitful and rewarding career, and I’m very proud to have been part of that organization.
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