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I Get Around February 9, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.
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The ACS has been announcing its annual award winners weekly in Chemical and Engineering News. Having been on some of the committees (the ACS calls them selection juries, which has an ominous sound to it), I know how difficult it is to even be nominated for one. You need a nominator, one or two seconding recommendations and a large packet of information about the research career that justifies the nomination.

The nominees are all luminaries with long CVs and significant impacts on their fields. For the past decade or so, I have seen various friends, colleagues, and collaborators receive some of these awards. So it is also heartening to see these announcements from a personal level, too. Some of these have been Milos Novotny, David Hercules, Milton Lee, Josef Michl, and Victor Snieckus.

This year, the winner in analytical chemistry is Peter Carr. He was a professor of mine at the University of Georgia. He was both very knowledgable and very tough. He gave no slack in his courses. This helped me because school had always been too easy for me, it all could be done just by the sheer horsepower of my brain.

That is until Pete Carr’s experimental statistics class. He was rigorous, as in his other classes. No BSing allowed. He literally had a stamp that he used on exams or homework problems that said “BS!” I do not think I learned as much as I could have in that class, but it finally forced me to get serious about being a professional analytical chemist. (and sparked an interest in experimental statistics that led to taking some short courses later on, including one by the hallowed John K. Taylor of NIST, and actually teaching a college-level course in it.)

Congratulations, Dr. Carr! You really are and were a true teacher of our profession.

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