CASSS Award for Outstanding Achievements in Separation Science
This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions to the fields of separation science and technology. The award consists of $500, a plaque, and reimbursement of travel expenses to the Annual CASSS Award Dinner in the San Francisco Bay Area where the award is presented. A nominee must have made an outstanding contribution to the fields of separation science and technology with particular consideration given to developments of new methods and techniques.
The International Separation Science Society, CASSS, is pleased to announce that its 19th annual award for life-long contributions to the field of separation science will be awarded to Professor Nobuo Tanaka of Kyoto, Japan.
CASSS, the International Separation Science Society is located in Emeryville, California. Annually, it recognizes a scientist’s outstanding contributions to the fields of separation science and technology with particular consideration given to those who have developed new methods and techniques. This award includes a plaque, a small monetary award, and reimbursement of travel expenses to the symposium at which the award is presented. This award has a long tradition with the first being presented in 1995.
Professor Tanaka has made several important contributions to the science of chromatography. His most important contribution was the development, and the reduction to practice, of monolithic silica columns for HPLC. The significance of this advance was emphasized by Georges Guiochon, who wrote, “The advent of monolithic packings is the single most important advance in the preparation of chromatography columns since the work of Tswett a century ago”.
Professor Tanaka received all of his formal education at Kyoto University in Kyoto, Japan. After graduation, he spent several years as a postdoc at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington in Seattle, and finally, at Northeastern University in Boston. He returned to Japan in 1979 and rose through the professor ranks, achieving full professor status at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, where he was active for 30 years until his mandatory retirement in 2009. Since then, he has been a technical advisor to GL Sciences.
Professor Tanaka has conducted a plethora of research including the preparation of silica-based and polymer-based stationary phases, studies of their chromatographic properties, and the study of the effect of pressure on solute retention in reversed-phase LC. His first, and seminal paper on monolithic silica columns for HPLC was published in 1996 (Anal.Chem. 1996, 68, 3498). It introduced a monolithic column with C18 functionalities enabling very fast and efficient separations of small molecules. The striking novelty of these columns was their high permeability, which was achieved without adversely affecting their efficiency.
A large number of publications about monolithic silica columns followed, and each demonstrated his seemingly boundless creativity. For example, his group used 8 m long octadecylsilylated monolithic capillary columns to baseline separate benzene from its counterpart with a single hydrogen molecule substituted with deuterium. Similar systems generated one million theoretical plates for a retained compound (Anal.Chem. 2008, 80, 8741). Personally, I also like his functionalization of silica monoliths using the “grafting-to” procedure to functionalize the pore surface and to enable other separation mechanisms such as HILIC and ion exchange (e.g. J. Chromatogr. A, 2007, 1164, 198; ibid 2009, 1216, 7394). To no one’s surprise, his monolithic columns attracted the close attention of the chromatographic industry and were successfully commercialized.
During his carrier, Professor Tanaka has been a member of many committees and boards, and has served as editor of the Journal of Separation Science and the Journal of Chromatography A. He has also chaired several international conferences. Professor Tanaka has also published nearly 200 original research papers, review articles, and book chapters. He recently co-edited a book “Monolithic Silicas in Separation Science”, which was published by Wiley.
Professor Tanaka is often invited to present his results at the most prestigious conferences concerning separation science. For his vast achievements in chromatography, he has received a great deal of international recognition. A few of his numerous honors include the 1998 Japanese Society for Chromatographic Sciences Award, the 2002 Silver Jubilee Medal of the British Chromatographic Society, the 2007 M. J. E. Golay Award, and the 2009 ACS Award in Chromatography. While this year’s CASSS award for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the field of separation science is his most recent recognition, it certainly will not be his last.
Additional Award Details
Once a year (typically in early Spring), Directors, Associate Directors, and all previous CASSS award winners are asked by the chair of the CASSS Academic committee to nominate a living person that meets the award citation requirements. Members of the CASSS Board of Directors are not eligible for nomination.
Selection of the winner:
Each Director, Associate Director, and all previous winners vote for every nominee in ranked order, starting with x (x = the total number of nominees) for their first choice. This means that each ballot must have a different number from x down to 1 associated with each candidate. The top candidate in each ballot receives 3 “bonus” points and the second candidate 1 “bonus” point in the final counting. The votes of those who do not assign all numbers as required are not accepted. The nominee with the highest number of points is the award winner. The winner is then asked by the chair of the academic committee to accept the award and is invited to come to the Bay Area. The award winner collects the award and gives a lecture at the Annual CASSS Award Dinner held in the Fall.