The American Chemical Society is honoring University of Texas at Arlington professor Daniel W. Armstrong for his landmark contributions to the field of analytical separations. This is the second national award for Armstrong, who will receive it on March 17, at the ACS national conference in Dallas
The ACS Award in Separations Science and Technology, sponsored by Waters Corp., recognizes “the development of novel applications with major impacts and/or the practical implementations of modern advancements in the field of separation science and technology.”
Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, UT Arlington provost and vice president for academic affairs, recognizes Dr. Armstrong as someone who, throughout his career, “has worked to increase our understanding of the world around us through development of new instruments and analytical methods.” Armstrong’s international reputation has elevated the College of Science and the University overall, and we are pleased to see this recognition of his contributions,” he adds.
Armstrong already holds the UT Arlington Robert A. Welch Chair in Chemistry. He joined UT Arlington in 2006 and, throughout his career, has developed more than 30 different types of columns used in chromatography, the science of separating molecules in gas or liquid for analysis.
The commercial applications of his inventions have been wide-ranging – including use by the drug development, petrochemical and environmental monitoring community. Armstrong is also the author of more than 550 scientific publications, including 29 book chapters and holds 23 U.S. and international patents.
“One of the strengths of our group is we come with new things to explore constantly, which is fun,” Armstrong said, adding that vidence his work is influencing and helping other scientific endeavors – such as the 27,000 scientific citations his lab has achieved – is a gratifying result. “You want to do things that have an impact and are useful, either adding knowledge, insight or something practical that people can actually use,” he said.
Often called the “father of pseudophase separations” – a type of liquid chromatography that provides higher selectivity for substances with lower cost and less volatility and toxicity than previous analytical methods – Armstrong has been heralded for his work synthesizing ionic liquids, which have more advanced separation capabilities for a variety of important molecules.
In another example of his influence, a gas chromatography column that Armstrong developed is one of three that are part of the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency. The goal of the Rosetta mission, launched in 2004, is to orbit a comet and land scientific equipment on it in fall 2014, in order to explore the composition of the comet and learn more about the origins of the universe.
Most recently, Armstrong has been working on improving methods for detecting performance-enhancing drugs, such as those used in the sports world.
The 2014 ACS awards were announced in the January issue of Chemical & Engineering News, in an article where several colleagues praised Armstrong, his innovations and his dedication to training and mentoring more than 170 students, post-doctoral researchers and visiting professors. Among them is Krishnan Rajeshwar, a chemistry/biochemistry professor at UT Arlington, who told the magazine that “few scientists have had a greater impact on the advancement of chemical analysis.”