MagLab’s Alan Marshall inducted into American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Alan G. Marshall, director of Florida State's Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program.

One of Florida State University’s most distinguished researchers has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining 163 other fellows and foreign honorary members in the Class of 2013.

Alan G. Marshall, who is world-renowned for his pioneering work in co-inventing and developing Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry — a revolutionary chemical analysis technique — is director of the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at FSU.

Marshall and the rest of the Class of 2013 were formally welcomed to the Academy on Oct. 12 during an induction ceremony in Cambridge, Mass. The Academy, whose entire membership includes more than 250 Nobel Prize laureates and 60 Pulitzer Prize winners, is composed of accomplished leaders in education, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts.

“Being inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is a tremendous honour,” said Tim Logan, chair of FSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Each of the inductees has demonstrated a broad and lasting impact in their respective fields, and the same is true for Alan. He is an outstanding researcher but also has written outstanding textbooks and is a generous mentor to younger scientists at all stages of their careers. We are very pleased to have someone of Alan’s talents on the faculty of FSU.”

In addition to Marshall, Academy Award-winning actors Robert De Niro and Sally Field, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, novelist Martin Amis and jazz great Herbie Hancock were among the inductees at the Oct. 12 ceremony. Field and Burns read from the “Letters of John and Abigail Adams,” and the ceremony concluded with a performance by Hancock.

“The induction ceremony recognizes the achievement and vitality of today’s most accomplished individuals who together with the Academy will work to advance the greater good,” said Academy Secretary Jerrold Meinwald. “These distinguished men and women are making significant strides in their quest to find solutions to the most pressing scientific, humanistic, and policy challenges of the day.”

Marshall is now one of two current FSU faculty members to have been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The other is Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor of Composition, who received the honour in 2004. Five previous FSU faculty members also were named fellows of the Academy.

For more than 230 years, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has honoured excellence and provided service to the nation and the world. Through independent, nonpartisan study, its ranks of distinguished “scholar-patriots” have brought the arts and sciences into constructive interplay with the leaders of both the public and private sectors.

The Academy was founded during the American Revolution by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other leaders who contributed prominently to the establishment of the new nation, its government and its Constitution. Its purpose was to provide a forum for a select group of scholars, members of the learned professions, and government and business leaders to work together on behalf of the democratic interests of the republic.

In the words of the academy’s charter, enacted in 1780, the “end and design of the institution is . . . to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

In addition to this latest honour, Marshall holds the titles of Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, Kasha Professor of Chemistry and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State. He also is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In 2012, Marshall received the Pittsburgh Analytical Chemistry Award from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the William H. Nichols Medal from the New York Section of the American Chemical Society. Sixteen previous winners of the Nichols medal have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

In 2009, Marshall was named a member of the American Chemical Society’s first group of fellows, the only person in Florida to receive the distinction, and that same year he received the New Frontiers in Hydrocarbons Award, sponsored by Italian energy company Eni, as well as the Eastern Analytical Symposium Award for Outstanding Achievements in Mass Spectrometry. Before that, among many honours, Marshall received the 2008 Ralph and Helen Oesper Award from the Cincinnati section of the ACS and the 2007 Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists.

Marshall earned a doctorate from Stanford University. Before joining the faculty of Florida State’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, part of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, in 1993, Marshall held academic appointments at the University of British Columbia in Canada and The Ohio State University.