The Power List 2015
Professor, Special Chair on Analytical Chemistry at Wageningen University; Principal scientist, RIKILT Wageningen UR, Scientific director of COAST, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Most important lesson Think outside of the box (“what if?”), the impossible is possible!
Encounters with serendipity Not ‘serendipity’ in a strict sense, more in the sense of curiosity-driven crazy experiments that surprisingly worked out nicely. For example, hyphenation of LC having sulphuric acid as a mobile phase with ESI mass spectrometry does work (but at the cost of a counter electrode every two days or so). Analysis of a last night’s social dinner by ambient mass spectrometry imaging revealed that (i) you can use an ordinary kitchen knife (instead of precision tissue slicing), (ii) the flowers my wife received contained both regulated and banned pesticides on the same locations of the rose leaves, and (iii), as an unintended revenge, our friends consumed quite a lot of fungicide-containing lemon rasp during the dinner!
Most unexpected outcome In the late eighties, we conducted a weekend trial to test professional kites for their ability to carry air samplers. Eventually, all kites crashed of course, but how do you tell your boss?
Eye on the horizon Our research will keep focus on innovative analytics for food quality and safety testing and most likely will maintain current size and funding. Our research towards multiplex ligand binding assays on planar arrays recently moved into nanostructured imaging SPR and smartphone readouts. Our ambient ionization mass spectrometry research moved into the direction of ambient imaging. Growth is envisaged in the direction of portable mass spectrometry. Over the next decades, analytical sciences will move outside the lab: “bringing the lab to the sample” will be hot in the years to come and, most likely, will replace a significant part of current laboratory routine analysis.