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On the 15th October 2018, we lost one of the father-figures of chromatography. At the age of 90 John Knox sadly passed away.

John was a great man, one who managed to walk the very difficult line of being quite brilliant, but also humble enough not to covet the recognition and attention that comes along with such reputation. He was quietly respected by so many people who knew him to be ‘the man’. His legacy continues in the work of many of the current leaders in their field. Barely a lecture is delivered at a chromatography meeting, where some early and important reference isn’t made to him and his co-workers. For many, John is recognised through the Knox equation:


This, with the van Deemter equation, is widely accepted and used to describe the dependence on plate height on linear velocity of the mobile phase.

John was a dedicated academic and an innovator in chromatography. He led many new areas, building one of the first gas chromatographs with Howard Purnell whilst a student at Cambridge in the early 1950s. In the 60s he worked on liquid chromatography with J. C. Giddings in Utah and in the 70s produced new column chromatography materials, which we now know as Hypersil and Hypercarb.

In 2010 the Separation Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry awarded its first Knox Medal, to honour individuals deserving special recognition of their innovation or influential work in the field of separation science.



Below are a few quotes from Knox Medal winners:
“…the doyen of chromatography will be greatly missed” – Keith Bartle
“…John lived life to the full, and will leave his imprint on all of us who were lucky enough to meet such a great scientist and modest gentleman” – Ian Wilson
“…John was so very kind to me when I was just starting my career” – Jim Jorgenson”

John Knox will be remembered to be a great scientist, a leader in the field, a kind and decent man, with a good sense of humour whose work has and will continue to make an impact on scientific research.

– Prof. John Langley and Dr Bob Boughtflower, Separation Science Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry

After the success of our previous Advances in Clinical Analysis meetings, we are very pleased to announce Advances in Clinical and Forensic Analysis 2018, organised along with the Chromatographic Society, to be held on Tuesday 27th November 2018 at the RSC’s Burlington House venue in London.

Clinical and forensic analysis together cover some of the most exciting and important topics in the life sciences, and this meeting will provide insights into the latest methodologies and technological developments across these application areas. The meeting will focus on separation and complementary/alternative techniques, along with case studies from the hospital, commercial and academic areas. The programme has been designed to give attendees an update for both routine and problem solving in clinical and forensic analysis, and includes talks from established experts and emerging professionals, including Prof Leon Barron (King’s College London), Dr Melanie Bailey (University of Surrey), Dr Gordon Ross (Agilent Technologies) and Dr Joost Brandsma (University of Southampton), amongst others.  This year, the meeting will also celebrate the career and achievements of Prof David Perrett, our keynote speaker.

Advances in Clinical and Forensic Analysis 2018 will also provide attendees with a unique means of sharing real experiences with other professionals and will provide excellent networking opportunities. We believe this will be a highly interesting and well-attended event, and registration is now open here. Poster abstracts will be accepted till the 11th of November.

The warm weather has come and gone, but we’re not missing it (too much), because the next few months are packed full of exciting events for separation scientists. The events calendar on our website already lists several of these events, along with links to registration and abstract submission pages. But the SSG members have their own favorites amongst these, including:

* The 39th BMSS Annual Meeting (11-13 September 2018): The BMSS annual meeting is a fixture in our autumn calendars, as it remains one of the important MS events here in the UK. The Intro to MS course that precedes the conference is an excellent resource for beginning practitioners of MS, and this year, BMSS39 in Cambridge will focus on the life sciences and (bio)pharma. The scientific program is being organised in collaboration with the Joint Pharmaceutical Analysis Group (JPAG), and the International Reid Bioanalytical Forum (ChromSoc). While registration for the main conference has already closed, there might be spots left on the Intro to MS course; more details can be found at

* The 2018 International Symposium on Chromatography (23-27 September): the ISC is one of the premier meetings for discussion of all modes of chromatography and separation sciences with a broad coverage of techniques and applications. Through a combination of oral and poster presentations, tutorials, short courses, vendor lectures and seminars, and an international exhibition on Instrumentation and Services, ISC 2018 will cover the advances, fundamentals, challenges, trends and applications of separation techniques, chromatography and mass spectrometry on a wide range of topics. The Symposium will take place in Cannes-Mandelieu, Côte d’Azur, on the French Riviera. Register at:

*ChromSoc Grassroots Meeting (5-8 October): In October 2016, as part of the Society’s Diamond anniversary celebrations, The Chromatographic Society held its first Grass Roots event in Grasmere in the Lake District. The course focussed on teaching the fundamentals of liquid chromatography to graduate students and novice chromatographers from industry. The Society repeated the course in Church Stretton in October 2017. The Grass Roots 3 event will look to build on the fundamentals taught on the previous Grass Roots courses. The course will focus on reversed-phase method development for small molecules. This will be of particular relevance for attendees working with pharmaceutical compounds, but the concepts and approaches will be equally relevant to those working in the food, environmental and other industries. The event will be delivered by a number of chromatographers with extensive training and industrial experience (Prof. Mel Euerby (Shimadzu), Tony Taylor (Crawford Scientific), Prof. Roman Szucs (Pfizer) and Dr Paul Ferguson (AstraZeneca)). While the meeting will be primarily educational, there will also be extensive opportunities for networking (primarily on walks included in the schedule) and socialising. Register at:

* 8th International Conference & Exhibition on Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring (21-22 November): WWEM 2018 is a two-day event, organised together with industry partners including the Sensors for Water Interest Group, the Water Industry Process Automation & Control group, The Pump Centre, the BMSS and the SSG. The exhibition features 150 participating companies, involved in providing instruments, equipment and services to monitor, test and analyse water and wastewater, plus over 80 free technical seminar sessions on applications and case studies. Register today at:

And if you can’t make it to one of these events,the SSG website and Twitter feed @RSCSepSci are both good places to stay up to date with all the latest news from these events and many others.

Less than three weeks to go before our 2018 Knox Symposium, and we can’t wait to welcome all of our speakers, attendees and Knox Medal winners (past winners and of course, our 2018 awardee, Prof Jim Jorgenson) to beautiful Burlington House for a day of exciting talks! If you haven’t already registered, there’s still time: all registration information can be found on the RSC Events site, here, along with an event agenda and venue details. As usual, we are pleased to offer special registration rates for RSC members and students: this year’s Symposium has been designed to have something of interest to both expert and novice separation scientists, and our two masterclasses on capillary electrophoresis (Prof David Perrett) and plate theory (Prof Deirdre Cabooter) should provide plenty of food for thought for even the most expert users. A minor change to the agenda means that Dr Monika Dittmann (Agilent) and Dr Isabelle Francois (Waters) will be speaking about the impact of Prof Jorgenson’s work on the evolution of modern, high-performance analytical instrumentation. Our afternoon session will be devoted to the current state-of-the-art in chromatography, with talks by Dr Lewis Couchman and Prof Peter Schoenmakers, followed by Prof Apryll Stalcup’s take on the future of separation science. And finally, our 2018 Knox Medal winner, Prof James Jorgenson will be taking the stage to receive the Medal and deliver the 2018 Knox Medal Lecture. We hope to see you there on the 29th of June, both to celebrate Prof Jorgenson’s pathbreaking career, and to join us in an appreciation of some excellent separation science!

The Knox Medal is awarded by the RSC Separation Science group to individuals deserving special recognition for their innovative and influential work in the field of separation science. It was first awarded in 2010, and this year at HTC-15, we were delighted to announce that the 2018 Knox Medal will be presented to Prof James Jorgenson for his many achievements over the course of a highly successful career as an innovator and separation scientist, with a particular acknowledgement of his seminal contributions to the development of ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE).

The RSC SSG will be presenting the award to Prof Jorgenson at a special one-day symposium in honour of his work on the 29th of June 2018 at Burlington House. The symposium features eight talks on the history, current state-of-the-art and future directions of separation science, by world-leading experts from academia and industry. As described in the preliminary agenda, the talks will emphasize the extensive impact of Prof Jorgenson’s research and his role in developing advanced LC instrumentation, which has had far-reaching consequences for the practice of separation science. Full registration details can be found here; as usual, special registration rates apply for members of the RSC and student attendees.

There’s less than a week before our Spring meeting on ‘Advances in the Chemical Analysis of Food’, organised together with the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Food Group. Analytical chemistry is vitally important to the food industry, the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector, and this biannual meeting features the most recent analytical innovations to help ensure food is safe, authentic, nutritious and enjoyable. The final agenda is now available and includes talks by Prof Andy Taylor (Flavometrix/University of Nottingham), Dr James Donarski (Fera), Dr Kathy Ridgway (Anatune), Dr Dara Fitzpatrick (University College Cork), Dr Laura McGregor (SepSolve Analytical), Dr Simon Hammann (University of Bristol), Prof John Dean (Northumbria University), and the SSG’s own Prof John Langley (University of Southampton). We have special registration rates for RSC members and students, and a limited number of travel bursaries are still available for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Registration is open till April 26th, and more details regarding the meeting agenda, venue location and registration can be found at the RSC’s Event listing here.

WWEM 2018 will take place on from the 21st to the 22nd of November 2018 in Telford (UK), and is the 8th in the series of International Water & Wastewater Monitoring Events. These events focus on companies and individuals involved with water, waste water and environmental monitoring. This year, WWEM will showcase over 150 companies which provide instrumentation, equipment and services to monitor, test and analyse water and waste water, as well as 80 free technical seminar sessions on applications and case studies.

The ‘Analytical Developments’ Conference at WWEM 2018 is being organised as a collaborative effort by the British Mass Spectrometry Society (BMSS) and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s interest groups, the Separation Science Group (SSG) and the Water Science Forum. We are looking for oral and poster presentations for new developments in all areas relevant to WWEM, with a particular emphasis on the following applications:

  • Waste water screening
  • Microplastics/plastics in the environment
  • Analysis for passive sampling
  • On-line and at-line analysis
  • Metals and nutrients
  • Bio-toxicity and speciation
  • Taste and odour
  • Automation
  • Data analysis, interpretation and modelling

If you would like to be considered for an oral or poster presentation, please submit an abstract of 200-500 words, briefly highlighting the application area, key benefits and novelty of your research via the WWEM submission portal (here). The closing date for oral abstract submission is 30th April 2018.


The SSG has now extended the deadline for submission of applications for the 2018 Separation Science Group Summer Studentships. The proposed project may be conducted at any UK university, or commercial organisation, and may involve any aspect of separation science. Projects should emphasize separation techniques such as chromatography, CE, SPE, ion mobility etc., but may also involve the application of appropriate data analysis strategies, processing tools, and predictive modelling approaches to data obtained from any separation technique. Complete application guidelines and materials are available on our Funding page, and applications should be received by the SSG by 5 pm on March 31st, 2018. If you’re a student, make sure your prospective supervisor is aware of this opportunity, and if you’re a supervisor, send in your application today!

Analytical chemistry is vitally important to the food industry, the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector, and separation science contributes to its role in ensuring food is safe, authentic, nutritious and enjoyable. The RSC’s Separation Science Group and the Food Group are thus pleased to announce the second bi-annual, one-day meeting on ‘Advances in the Chemical Analysis of Food’. The meeting will be held at Burlington House in London, on the 27th of April (2018). Confirmed speakers include Prof Andy Taylor (Flavometrix/University of Nottingham), Dr Dara Fitzpatrick (University College Cork), Prof John Dean (Northumbria University), Dr James Donarski (Fera UK) and the SSG’s own Prof John Langley (University of Southampton). Special registration rates for RSC members and students, and a limited number of travel bursaries are available for undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Registration details are available here, and a full agenda will be available soon. Abstract submissions for oral presentations will be accepted till the 2nd of March (that’s this Friday!), and you can register all the way till the 26th of April – though you really should register today!

HTC-15 is almost here! And if you haven’t already registered, here’s a list of our top 10 reasons you should do so immediately:

  1. The brilliant separation science: The conference programme speaks for itself  – three days of great talks, posters, vendor exhibits, and all your favourite separation scientists under one (historic) roof.
  2. The outstanding plenary lectures: Prof Peter Schoenmakers, Prof Rob Beynon, Prof Tuulia Hyotylainen, and Dr Eric Little will all be presenting plenary lectures, and we still haven’t mentioned our Knox Medal winner…
  3. The 2017 Knox Memorial Lecture (Prof Peter Myers!!!): As you may have heard, Prof Peter Myers was awarded the 2017 Knox Medal, and will be opening the conference with a plenary lecture entitled Why do we still use silica?, which we expect will be the usual scientific tour de force that we’ve come to expect of him.
  4. The short courses: Three day-long short courses on SFC, biopharms and statistical analysis of chromatographic data, all led by experts and innovators in these fields.
  5. The excellent posters: Poster presentations are a great way to discuss new research with the scientists who produced it, and HTC-15 has some great new research on show at the poster sessions. You can still submit late-breaking poster abstracts here.
  6. The fabulous early-career researchers: The 24 ECR talks and many ECR posters are a heartening reminder that separation science continues to attract the best and brightest talent.
  7. The vendor exhibits and seminars: Hear the latest news from all the big vendors and see how their products can help you do better science. And if that isn’t enough, cough vendor freebies cough.
  8. The networking opportunities: A gala conference dinner, a beer degustation event, and all those coffee breaks between sessions – that’s plenty of time to strike up a conversation with that researcher you always meant to collaborate with, that ECR who you think would make a great new addition to your institution, or that keynote speaker whose work has always inspired you.
  9. The venue: Did we mention that the venue is the historic, beautiful Cardiff City Hall, in the middle of the Welsh capital, home to this castle and this museum and this market? And that Great Western Railway offers discounted rail tickets to anyone travelling to Cardiff for a conference?
  10. The fact that you really really want to: because HTC-15 is the premier analytical conference in the UK in 2018, and because reasons 1-9 are very persuasive. So don’t wait, register now!