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A farewell letter from long-time LCGC columnist Ron Majors.
It has been my pleasure to write and edit articles for you in my “Column Watch” and “Sample Prep Perspectives” columns for nearly 33 years. Now, with a total of 471 self-authored, coauthored, guest-authored, and special-issue articles on liquid chromatography (LC) columns and sample preparation (not counting numerous wall charts, web seminars, and glossaries) behind me, it is time to officially hand over the reins to the next generation. I have always been proud to be part of the staff that brings you this fine technical journal, which found its niche at the beginning in March 1983 when the technique of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was in its childhood and sample preparation was still in the doldrums of manual, labor-intensive work flows (and maybe still is).
During my three-plus decades, I had the privilege of working under four publishers including the current Publisher Mike Tessalone, who has been with the publication since 1993. I have worked alongside 10 editors in chief, and have found all of them to be very professional. I appreciate all that Laura Bush, the current editorial director, has done to continue the success of LCGC. I would also like to thank all of the associate and managing editors, who work closely with the columnists, including Meg L’Heureux, the present managing editor. Early on, Lisa McAdam in particular helped me improve my writing skills. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Steve Brown, the longest-tenured member of the staff, who began as technical editor in 1989 and remains so today. With his science background, Steve is a key player in ensuring that all articles, whether for peer review or a column, meet the high standards of the journal.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the guest authors and coauthors who shared their specialized expertise on various topics. Over the years, roughly half of my articles were provided by these individuals. I learned a lot about different aspects of separation science and sample preparation by working with them.
In 1984, I wrote my first Pittcon review article, which consisted of a single page of text. After that first effort, the review blossomed into a two-issue series with massive tables of new products. Readers, even those who attended Pittcon, seemed to like this coverage, because learning about all of the products on the exhibit floor is almost impossible. I will always be grateful for the manufacturers who provided me their new product information well in advance of Pittcon so that we could have timely coverage in the March and April editions. And they did it even though I worked in my “real” job for a competitor.
Although I was known for my long, involved articles, I always tried to explain the science in terms that a practitioner could understand and appreciate, in keeping with the practical philosophy of LCGC. One of the most rewarding occasions was when a young scientist came up to me at an Eastern Analytical Symposium and told me that I got him a job. Somewhat puzzled, I asked him to explain further. He told me that by rereading all my “Column Watch” articles he had learned enough about LC that he was able to land a job at a local pharmaceutical company as an LC chemist.
In my columns, I tried to provide information about more than a single topic. Looking back over my published articles, I covered all modes of LC, HPLC, ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC), ion chromatography, GC, supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC), thin-layer chromatography (TLC), capillary electrophoresis (CE), and related techniques, including capillary electrochromatography (CEC), field flow fractionation, particle sizing, sampling and sample preparation techniques of all kinds, automation, and simulated moving bed preparative chromatography. In addition, I provided 16 years of HPLC meeting reports and 22 column and sample prep reader and expert surveys, and covered the current state of chromatography in South America and Japan. Quite a diverse coverage!
Although it’s hard to leave, I am pleased that I can hand over the reins to talented new columnists: Doug Raynie, who took over “Sample Prep Perspectives” last year, and Dave Bell, who is taking the helm at “Column Watch.” I look forward to seeing their approach to covering these topics.
So I bid you adieu, but I am not really riding off into the sunset quite yet. Although I will be spending my free time traveling the world birdwatching with my wife, and serving as the volunteer editor of a stamp journal of the British North America Philatelic Society, I will continue to be involved with LCGC as a member of the editorial advisory board and maybe as an occasional guest writer. So you haven’t seen the last of me yet!
Ronald E. Majors
LCGC columnist and analytical consultant