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The 2017 edition of the Power List compiled by the magazine The Analytical Scientist features ten categories. Peter Schoenmakers of the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is listed in two of these 'Magnificent Tens'. As runner up in the separation scientists category and at third place in the leaders section he continues his strong performance in this bi-annual international listing of academic relevance.

Peter Schoenmakers
Prof. Peter Schoenmakers. Photo by Jan Willem Steenmeijer.

The Analytical Scientist Power List is a ranking of the most influential people in the analytical sciences. It is based on a poll among the readers of the magazine and the visitors of its website who nominate scientists, engineers, software developers or business leaders.

In both the 2013 and 2015 editions Schoenmakers, who since the beginning of this year also leads HIMS as scientific director, ranked seven internationally and third in a European perspective. For the current edition the nominations were made in ten specific categories, from the stars of separation science, to 'omics explorers', to the mentors training the next generation. This yielded Peter Schoenmakers a second and a third place in the categories separation scientists and leaders, respectively.

Forging the future

Schoenmakers earned his position as runner up in the listing of separation scientists because he is, as one of the nominators put it, "continually forging the future of separation science". An impressive example of this is the current Horizon2020 project Separation Technology for A Million Peaks (STAMP) for which Schoenmakers received an ERC Advanced Grant. In this he explores a three-dimensional approach of liquid chromatography to develop a system to separate up to a million compounds from complex mixtures. The STAMP results will help advance many fields of science, including (molecular) biology, chemistry, health, food, renewable energy and high-tech materials.

Training the next generation

Schoenmakers ranks third among the leaders in the Analytical Sciences since he "is the face of analytical science in Europe and has spent much of his time training the next generation" - again a quote from a nominator. According to Schoenmakers he is highly motivated by working with excellent young people, "who keep asking challenging questions every single day". In his view, one of the challenges lying ahead for the analytical sciences is the education of a next generation of scientists "who are capable of using and understanding the ever more complex techniques and instruments available - and the application domain they work in. Underqualified users are using instruments as black boxes, which creates great risks."