Marshall to deliver Lawton lecture

Alan G. Marshall

Noted Professor Alan G. Marshall, Florida State University’s 2006-2007 Lawton Professor, will speak on "Reading Chemical ‘Fine Print’: The Key to Unlocking Nature’s Isotopic Zoo" when he delivers the Tenth Annual Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor Lecture, a traditional Homecoming event, next week. The lecture will take place at 10 A.M., Thursday, Nov. 16, in Opperman Music Hall. (View webcast archive Windows Media Player required)

"Nature has built an intrinsic ‘code’ into every molecule that identifies the number and kinds of chemical elements of which it is composed," Marshall, FSU’s Kasha Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said in describing his upcoming lecture. "The code is simply the mass of the molecule—but reading it requires ultra-accurate measurement. The Lawton lecture will discuss how reading the code can help to identify chemical and biochemical ‘markers’ in complex chemical mixtures ranging from biological fluids to petroleum crude oil."

Marshall is widely known throughout the world’s scientific community as the co-inventor of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry, one of the most informative methods available for chemical analysis. The technique, which allows researchers to simultaneously separate and identify more than 10,000 separate chemical constituents within a single sample, has had a tremendous impact on research in areas as diverse as biomedicine, chemistry and petroleum analysis.

The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award is the highest honor that FSU faculty can bestow on a colleague. It is named in honor of the late Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert O. Lawton, a longtime and highly esteemed member of the FSU faculty.