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Frank H. Field & Joe L. Franklin Award For Outstanding Achievement In Mass Spectrometry

by Celia Henry Arnaud
January 2, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 1

Credit: Courtesy of Scott A. McLuckey
Scott A. McLuckey, professor of chemistry, Purdue
Credit: Courtesy of Scott A. McLuckey

Sponsored by Waters Corp.

Scott A. McLuckey’s earliest formal experiences with chemistry involved “dreadful” teachers in junior high and high school. “Somehow I was able to unlink the teachers from the subject,” he says. During his senior year in high school, he had an excellent teacher who was “important in preventing me from avoiding chemistry altogether in college.”

As a student at Westminster College, in New Wilmington, Pa., he was attracted to the physical sciences because of what he perceived to be their higher degree of objectivity compared with other disciplines. He especially liked the quantitative aspects of chemistry and gravitated toward measurements. He received a B.S. in chemistry in 1978.

His interest in measurements led him to mass spectrometry, a subject on which he has focused throughout his career. As a graduate student, he worked with R. Graham Cooks at Purdue University, where he received a Ph.D. in 1982. Following a one-year stint as a visiting scientist at the FOM Institute for Atomic & Molecular Physics, in Amsterdam, McLuckey joined the staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1983.

After 17 years at Oak Ridge, McLuckey returned to Purdue in 2000. Now 55, he is the John A. Leighty Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

“It was a very difficult decision for me to leave Oak Ridge for many reasons,” he says. “However, I felt that I could have greater scientific impact in the long term by working with aspiring scientists and helping them grow into independent researchers.”

This award honors his work in the gas-phase ion chemistry of biological molecules.

“Scott McLuckey has been a leader in fundamental studies of ion chemistry for most of his career,” says Catherine C. Fenselau, a chemistry professor at the University of Maryland. “His exploitation of the mass spectrometer—particularly the ion trap—as a reaction chamber has been highly productive for the community’s understanding of the capabilities of our instruments. The ion chemistry that he has developed has provided important insights in physical chemistry, as well as advances in bioanalytical chemistry.”

McLuckey has made seminal contributions in a number of areas related to the ion chemistry of biological molecules. “His contributions include the first studies of the ion-molecule reactions of multiply charged proteins, pioneering work in gas-phase ion-ion reactions, and key work in studies of the charge-state-dependent dissociation of oligonucleotide and whole protein ions,” Cooks says.

McLuckey and his Oak Ridge coworkers Gary Glish and Gary Van Berkel were the first to couple electrospray ionization with quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometers. “His publications have catalyzed the development of over 5,000 electrospray/ion trap instruments in operation worldwide,” says Peter B. Armentrout, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah.

McLuckey has received many awards throughout his career, including the 1997 Biemann Medal from the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, the 2000 Curt Brunnée Award from the International Mass Spectrometry Society, the 2007 Award for Chemical Instrumentation from the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry, and the 2008 Anachem Award from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry & Spectroscopy Societies.

McLuckey will present the award address before the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry during the fall national meeting in Philadelphia.


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