The Chemical Society of Washington (CSW) has announced that Dr. Stephen A. Wise has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Hillebrand Prize. The annual Hillebrand Prize, awarded for original contributions to the science of chemistry, is named for William F. Hillebrand (1853-1925), former Chief Chemist at NIST. Dr. Wise is recognized for career achievements in separation science, and for contributions to the NIST Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) Program in support of an accurate national measurement system for chemistry.
Dr. Wise is well known for his fundamental research in the field of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). His early efforts, directed towards gaining a better understanding of the physical and chemical processes responsible for separation of condensed aromatic compounds on chromatographic columns, impacted the entire separation science community and contributed to the transformation of the technique from an art form to a powerful analytical tool. In a landmark publication in 1981, Dr. Wise observed that PAH retention in reversed-phase LC was directly correlated with shape for PAH isomers. He described how a calculated property termed the “length-to-breadth ratio” correlated with LC retention. Wise found that the LC separation of critical PAH isomers was only possible using C18 stationary phases prepared using polymeric surface modification chemistry, in contrast to the more common monomeric surface chemistry.
Dr. Wise played a key role in the development of the first SRMs for organic contaminants in environmental matrices, issued in the early 1980’s. His pioneering studies in the quantitative determination of PAHs has had a significant impact on the way that values are assigned in complex matrix SRMs. Dr. Wise has been involved in the development of over 90 SRMs to support accurate measurement of environmental contaminants in such varied matrices as air and diesel particulate matter, coal tar, sediments, mussel tissues, fish oil and tissues, whale blubber, human serum and milk, and house dust. In the mid-1990’s, a need for food matrix reference materials emerged to support newly issued food labeling regulations. To meet these needs, Dr. Wise worked with other agencies to facilitate development of food SRMs. Dr. Wise’s role in SRM development expanded to address needs expressed by the Office of Dietary Supplements within the National Institutes of Health (NIH-ODS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Wise provided leadership in establishing the critical partnerships among NIST, NIH-ODS, FDA, and other stakeholders to produce reference materials for dietary supplements. To date, over 30 SRMs have been issued including ginkgo, saw palmetto, bitter orange, fatty acids in plant and fish oils, tocopherols in oil, green tea, berries, and multivitamin tablets.
Dr. Stephen A. Wise recently retired from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland after 40 years of government service. He is currently a scientific consultant for the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health (NIH-ODS) in Bethesda, Maryland.