Cookies

Like most websites The Analytical Scientist uses cookies. In order to deliver a personalized, responsive service and to improve the site, we remember and store information about how you use it. Learn more.

Robert Kennedy

The Power List 2020 – North America


Hobart Willard Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Chemistry Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

Reason for pursuing analytical science: I have been fascinated by how we “know” things; measurements are key to that. Furthermore, I like instruments and machines that are complex and precise. As a practicing analytical scientist, it’s exciting to be able to participate in so many different fields. Our group has collaborated on projects in neuroscience, diabetes, enzyme engineering, and drug discovery. I’d get involved in environmental science and other areas if I had the time!

Greatest inspiration: One of my biggest heroes is Ralph Adams. He was a bioanalytical chemist who started his career as an electrochemist and then decided to use that electrochemical knowledge to study biology – specifically, measuring neurotransmitters, which are easily oxidized. He took medical school courses and was the first to record chemical changes in the brain. It was a revolutionary experiment that has spawned a whole field. He was also very charismatic; his students actually developed an award in his honor after he died.

Misconceptions of science in North America: I see two big misconceptions in the US regarding science. Some people seem to think that science will solve all problems. Another misconception (that seems to be growing) is that science is partisan or not to be trusted, or that pseudo-science is just as good as real science. This is frustrating in arguments over climate change, where a small number of contrarians get equal attention to the huge number of serious and rigorous studies. We also have an anti-vaccine movement that is about to collide with our best chance of getting the pandemic under control.


Part of the Power List 2020

Around the World in 60 Scientists

The Power List is back, and this time we’re taking you on a trip that circles the globe – one analytical scientist at a time!

Go to The Power List 2020

Register to The Analytical Scientist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:

  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine

Register