19 March 2008

Pioneering Mag Lab chemist honored with Oesper Award

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida State University chemistry professor's co-invention of a chemistry technique that can simultaneously separate and identify up to several thousand chemical components in complex mixtures has earned him another top scientific honor.

Alan G. Marshall, the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at FSU and director of the Ion Cyclotron Program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, has been selected to receive the 2008 Ralph and Helen Oesper Award from the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society. Eight of the past 26 awardees of the prestigious Oesper Award went on to win the Nobel Prize.

"Alan's receipt of the Oesper Award places him in an elite group of the world's best chemists," said Joseph Travis, dean of the FSU College of Arts & Sciences. "This recognition adds to Alan's enormous scientific reputation and reminds all of us how fortunate we are to count him a colleague at Florida State University."

Marshall co-invented and continues to develop Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry, a powerful analytical chemistry tool capable of resolving and identifying thousands of different chemical components in complex mixtures ranging from petroleum to biological fluids. Since its invention, more than 700 FT-ICR instruments, with a replacement value of approximately $400 million, have been installed in laboratories worldwide. Marshall has authored or co-authored more than 450 referred journal papers and has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The Oesper Award, which will be presented at a symposium at the University of Cincinnati in October, caps Marshall's prior national and international recognitions, including three American Chemical Society national awards, Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh Maurice F. Hasler Award, Pittsburgh Spectroscopy Award, American Society for Mass Spectrometry Distinguished Contribution Award, and the Thomson Medal of the International Society for Mass Spectrometry.

Marshall, a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Chemists, joins Professor Emeritus Gregory Choppin as FSU's second Oesper Award winner.

"It is both gratifying and humbling to join the company of the prior Oesper awardees," said Marshall. "Our FT-ICR technique turned out to be useful for all kinds of applications that weren't foreseen at the outset, and we continue to search for new ones."