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  • Professor Graham Cooks
    10/07/19 - 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

    Kolthoff Lectureship #1: Professor R. Graham Cooks

    Izaak M. Kolthoff Lectureship in Chemistry

R. Graham Cooks was educated at Port Shepstone High School and then at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science with honors in chemistry and mathematics, a master's degree, and a doctorate in chemistry, working on natural products chemistry. He was awarded a scholarship to Cambridge and obtained a doctorate for work on reactions of sulfur compounds. After post-doctoral work at Cambridge, he took a position as assistant professor at Kansas State University. He moved to Purdue University in 1971, where he was promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 1980 and Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor in 1990. He has served as an adviser to 129 doctorate students. Professor Cooks has held visiting positions at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Tsinghua University, and other Chinese institutions. He has been recognized with the Mass Spectrometry and the Analytical Chemistry awards of the American Chemical Society, the Robert Boyle Medal and the Centennial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Inventors, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Research interests

Cooks’ research work is focused on mass spectrometry. He was a pioneer in the conception and implementation of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and of desorption ionization, especially molecular secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS). His group now focusses on miniature portable mass spectrometers using ambient ionization, and applies this combination to problems of trace chemical analysis at point-of-care. His work on ionization methods led to the ambient method of desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) the applications of which include tissue diagnostics during cancer surgery. His interests in the fundamentals of ion chemistry focus on chiral analysis based on the kinetics of cluster ion fragmentation. His group also studies collisions of ions at surfaces. This experiment aims at new methods of molecular surface tailoring and analysis, and on nanomaterials preparation by soft-landing of ions and charged droplets. A form of preparative mass spectrometry based on accelerated reactions in microdroplets is being developed.

Kolthoff Lectureship in Chemistry

Izaak Maurits Kolthoff was born on February 11, 1894, in Almelo, Holland. He died on March 4, 1993, in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1911, he entered the University of Utrecht, Holland. He published his first paper on acid titrations in 1915. On the basis of his world-renowned reputation, he was invited to join the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Chemistry in 1927. By the time of his retirement from the University in 1962, he had published approximately 800 papers. He continued to publish approximately 150 more papers until his health failed. His research, covering approximately a dozen areas of chemistry, was recognized by many medals and memberships in learned societies throughout the world, including the National Academy of Sciences and the Nichols Medal of the American Chemical Society. Best known to the general public is his work on synthetic rubber. During World War II, the government established a comprehensive research program at major industrial companies and several universities, including Minnesota. Kolthoff quickly assembled a large research group and made major contributions to the program. Many of Kolthoff’s graduate students went on to successful careers in industry and academic life and, in turn, trained many more. In 1982, it was estimated that approximately 1,100 Ph.D. holders could trace their scientific roots to Kolthoff. When the American Chemical Society inaugurated an award for excellence in 1983, he was the first recipient.

  • Event Details

    Location: 331 Smith Hall
    Host: Professor Philippe Buhlmann
    • Professor R. Graham Cooks
    • Graham Cooks
    • Department of Chemistry
    • Purdue University
    • West Lafayette