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Techniques & Tools Polymers, Liquid Chromatography

Rewarding Industry

Established in 2013 by Waters Corporation, the annual Uwe D. Neue Award in Separation Science at the HPLC Symposium, honors a distinguished industrial scientist who has made a significant contribution to the field of separation science for at least 15 years post graduation. Importantly, awardees should be instrumental in the embodiment of technology in commercial products.

There are two main reasons for establishing the award in separation science: we want to honor the legacy of Uwe Neue, late scientist and Waters Corporate Fellow, and we want to recognize and promote outstanding researchers working in industry – people whose scientific work generally goes unnoticed. These people tend to be encouraged to patent rather than publish; they may design instruments used by other researchers rather than make discoveries themselves. In short, the Uwe D. Neue Award recognizes industrial researchers who are helping to shape the landscape of separation science.

Uwe Neue was a unique individual. With his big mustache, German accent, and wide smile, he was a person you noticed when you met him in the hallway. A visit to his office made an equal impression; piles of papers, manuscripts and books covered his desk, chairs, shelves, and floor. Although not known for his filing skills, he always knew the location of any document hidden in his office.

Uwe’s impact on Waters HPLC columns and instruments is undeniable. He found time to write papers and he published “HPLC columns: Theory, Technology and Practice”, a very popular book. And he was always ready to discuss a research problem with junior colleagues, whether they came from academia or the industry. In the latter part of his career, he attained the highest scientific rank at Waters (a category created specifically for him), which gave him the opportunity to publish more freely than before.

Following his untimely death, I met with my Waters Corporation colleagues to discuss whether we could establish an award that would fulfill the above-mentioned goals. I reached out to members of the HPLC symposium permanent committee – Barry Karger (North Eastern University), Attila Felinger (University of Pécs), and Peter Schoenmakers (University of Amsterdam). I also sought advice from Gerard Rozing ( Consulting), who managed a poster award sponsored by Agilent Technologies at the HPLC symposium. From their feedback, the idea of the Uwe D. Neue award took shape. With the support of the Waters chief technology officer, Dan McCormick, I proposed the award to the top-level leadership at Waters Corporation. It hit the right note with them, they offered their sponsorship, and the award was born.

J. Jack Kirkland (Advanced Materials Technology, Wilmington, Delaware) was the recipient of the first award presented at HPLC 2013.It recognized his life-long contribution to separation science and the development of superficially porous particles, now one of the most efficient sorbents used for HPLC separations. In 2014, the award went to Gerard Rozing for his active role in Agilent LC research, including the field of microfluidic based liquid chromatography.

This year, at the HPLC 2015 symposium in Geneva, I will present the award to Mark Schure, also featured here. His contribution to LC theory, including the theory of sampling in two-dimensional LC (2D-LC), quantitative definition of 2D-LC orthogonality, and modeling of chromatographic processes, is well known from his papers, tutorials, presentations, and as a previous chair of the HPLC symposium (Philadelphia 2004). Researchers in the field of biopolymer separation will also recognize him as a co-chair of the International Symposium on the Separation of Proteins, Peptides and Polynucleotides. Schure’s career has parallels to Neue: they both used mathematics to solve separation problems.

The Uwe D. Neue award has a growing reputation and I hope that it will continue to help with providing the recognition that many other industrial scientists deserve. Although I have my own views on the awardees, the rest of the selection committee – Monika Dittman (Agilent Technologies), Guowang Xu (Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics), Wolfgang Lindner (University of Vienna) and Barry Karger (who replaced the late Georges Guiochon in 2015), may offer their own reasons why they voted for the awardees.

Candidates for the Uwe D. Neue award are nominated by their peers. The nomination letter should include the individual’s impact on separation science – a strong list of patents, publications, and presentations undoubtedly helps. The nomination package is valid for three years but can be updated, if necessary. Please send nominations to: [email protected].

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About the Author
author gilar
Martin Gilar

Martin Gilar is a principal investigator in a core research group at Waters Corporation, where he has worked since 1998. He has more than 20 years of experience in the separation sciences, including chromatography, electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry.“My research interests lie in the analysis of biopolymers and 2D-LC. I received my PhD in analytical chemistry from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Prague in 1996, and spent my postdoc years developing separation methods for antisense oligonucleotides and fraction collectors for DNA molecules.”

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