People in my profession tend to think that almost any text can be improved. Indeed, even the most celebrated authors have
editors. There are, nevertheless, writers who have the ability to express themselves with such clarity and logic that the
process of editing becomes little more than one of layout and proofreading. John Dolan is a member of this rare group. When
he submits his monthly installments of "LC Troubleshooting" — always marvelously on time, another rarity among writers — they
are so well written that editing them, or perhaps I should say "preparing them for publication" — is a delight.
Dolan's excellent writing is, of course, directly connected to his extensive experience, both writing and teaching. He is
now celebrating 30 years of writing monthly columns for LCGC. That writing, in turn, reflects how he spends his days: training chromatographers around the world and helping clients solve
problems. Through that teaching and consulting, he has handled every question imaginable, and he seems to know how to answer
Figure 1: (L-R): John Dolan, Jack Kirkland, Lloyd Snyder, and Joe Glajch.
"His years of hands-on laboratory experience gave him great insight into the workings of the liquid chromatograph and mass
spectrometer, and he has been able to convey those learnings to others in a clear and lucid manner," said Ron Majors of Agilent
Technologies in Wilmington, Delaware, who is a fellow LCGC columnist and, in fact, the only columnist with a longer tenure at the magazine. "Almost any problem encountered in the daily
operation of HPLC, John has written about. John is Dr. Troubleshooting."
Other experts in the field all agree that Dolan has a special gift for understanding and explaining liquid chromatography
"John has an almost unique ability to develop and grasp complex technology, reduce it to practice, and communicate clearly
to others how to use it effectively," summed up Tom Jupille, who has been Dolan's business partner for more than 25 years
at LC Resources in Walnut Creek, California.
"His ability to explain to both the experts and novices in the field is a major strength of his work," agreed Joe Glajch of
Momenta Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"John's greatest contribution to the field of separation science has been his ability to understand and explain the theory
of LC to thousands of new scientists over the past 40 years," said Kerry Nugent of Bruker Daltonics in Auburn, California.
"This is especially apparent in his ability to take complex theory and help users apply this knowledge to the practical aspects
of this field, as highlighted in his popular LCGC column on LC troubleshooting."
Kari Hallenburg, who was an editor of LCGC during the first seven years of the publication, notes that Dolan, along with Lloyd Snyder, understood that practical, hands-on
information about LC instrumentation and applications would be invaluable to the audience of the new publication (then called
LC Magazine), particularly given that LC as an instrumental technique was in its infancy at that time. "Readers glommed on to 'LC Troubleshooting'
from the start," she said.
"His contributions to LCGC are unequaled," agrees Majors. "People always look forward to the next installment of 'LC Troubleshooting.'"