The Power List 2015
Professor, Department of Chemistry Wayne State University, Michigan, USA.
Most important lesson Patience. Laboratory work takes time and hustling does not get it done any faster.
Encounters with serendipity While waiting to talk to the Dean I casually picked up a magazine that contained a short article suggesting that ethylammonium nitrate had physicochemical properties that resembled water. It proved to be far from the truth but commenced a 35-year investigation into the synthesis and characterization of ionic liquids in my research group.
Most unexpected outcome Presenting a 45-minute lecture without visual aids or access to a balckboard because of a projector failure.
Eye on the horizon The current climate for separation science in the USA is poor and is on the verge of near extinction as a discipline at the moment. Analytical science, principally in the form of mass spectrometry, neuroscience and miniaturization is doing OK. It has remained the poor relative of some of the other branches of chemistry and is not held in high esteem by those who feel they are working at the frontiers of chemistry. Nevertheless, it thrives because it is essential to so many other disciplines.