Screenreader Navigation - [Skip to Content ]
[FSU Seal Image]
Florida State University

American Chemical Society names Marshall to first group of fellows

Alan Marshall

The honors continue to stack up for one of The Florida State University's best-known scientists.

Alan G. Marshall, the Robert O. Lawton Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State and director of the Ion Cyclotron Resonance Program at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, has been named to the first group of fellows selected by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest member-driven scientific organization. He is the only scientist in Florida selected for this honor.

"The most treasured recognitions are from those closest to home," Marshall said. "As a chemist, I am therefore especially honored to be chosen for the inaugural class of fellows of the American Chemical Society. I look forward to seeing other Florida State University chemists as ACS fellows in the near future."

The ACS Fellows Program was established in late 2008 "to recognize members of the American Chemical Society for outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession, and Society." The honor goes to those who have distinguished themselves in multiple areas, including promoting the science, the profession, and service to the society.

The inaugural group of ACS fellows will be recognized and honored in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 17. (Visit for a full list of the fellows.)

Marshall is widely recognized as having revolutionized the field of chemical analysis. He co-invented and continues to develop Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometry, a powerful analytical procedure capable of resolving and identifying thousands of different chemical components in complex mixtures ranging from petroleum to biological fluids. Since its invention, more than 750 FT-ICR instruments, with a replacement value of approximately $425 million, have been installed in laboratories worldwide.

In recent years, Marshall's research group has received a great deal of attention for its development of "petroleomics," an entirely new branch of chemistry that seeks to predict the properties and behavior of petroleum and its products. Using FT-ICR mass spectrometry, his team has been able to simultaneously separate and identify thousands of separate chemical constituents within a single crude oil sample. In so doing, it has compiled the largest database of petroleum compounds in the world — priceless information for some of the world's richest companies.

"Thanks to Professor Marshall's innovations, FT-ICR mass spectrometry is now an invaluable routine analytical procedure in areas ranging from industrial chemical analysis (e.g., oil exploration) through environmental and ecological science (e.g., atmospheric gas analysis) to medical prognosis (e.g., personalized medicine)," said Harold Kroto, Florida State's Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996. "The technical and computational advances have resulted in the ultimate high sensitivity and, most importantly, the resolution needed for use in the field.

"Without Marshall's developments, FT-ICR-MS would have remained a useful laboratory technique and could not have become the routine method of general fundamental and strategic applicability that it now is," Kroto said. "He is most worthy of selection to the inaugural group of fellows of the American Chemical Society."

In addition to his ground-breaking research, Marshall also has authored or co-authored more than 450 refereed journal papers and has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The ACS honorific follows a recent string of honors bestowed upon Marshall:

  • Earlier this year, he was named the co-recipient of the 2009 New Frontiers in Hydrocarbons Award, sponsored by Eni, an Italian energy company. Marshall's share of the award money was 150,000 euros — roughly $200,000.
  • In 2008, he was selected to receive the 2008 Ralph and Helen Oesper Award from the Cincinnati Section of the American Chemical Society. Eight of the past 26 awardees of the prestigious award went on to win the Nobel Prize.
  • In 2007, he was selected to receive the 2007 Chemical Pioneer Award from the American Institute of Chemists. The award recognizes "chemists and chemical engineers who have made outstanding contributions advancing the science of chemistry or impacting the chemical industry or the chemical profession."
  • He was named a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State for 2006-2007. The Lawton award is the highest honor that the university's faculty can bestow on a colleague.

With more than 154,000 members, the American Chemical Society is one of the world's leading sources of authoritative scientific information.

By Barry Ray


"Without Marshall's developments, FT-ICR-MS would have remained a useful laboratory technique and could not have become the routine method of general fundamental and strategic applicability that it now is."

Harold Kroto
Florida State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry