During the time I spent in Berkeley I had the honor to work on the beginning of the project leading to the portable system for highly sensitive multi-dimensional chemical analysis. This work included hyphenation of NMR with liquid chromatography separation using organic polymer monoliths.
Before the last CASSS Discussion group debate on difference between high temperature and high pressure liquid chromatography started, there was a welcome slide projected on the wall. There was only one sentece (paraphrase):
Meet other people who like and understand what you do
I highlighted the most important part (for me), because I have always problems to explain what I am doing. I would like to ask you all for your thoughts.
- How do you define chromatography?
- Do you have problems to interpret chromatography to other people who don’t understand the chemistry at all?
In my case, I am always trying to use words as analysing what is inside a sample, separation of complex mixtures, etc. On the very end (when I see that the listener has no clue at all), I am always using examples such as “when you are visiting doctors, they can determine the level of your cholesterol in a blood with chromatography” or “it can be used for a quality control of gasoline in your car”.
Usually, people just answer “ahaa”. And I know, that they still don’t know what I am talking about.
Once I have read the definition of the chromatography as a running race. On the beginning there is a group of a runners and as time flows (mobile phase?;) the group is separated to a groups of the runners with a same speed (retention). On the end of the run, the winner is a non retained compound and the others are individual parts of the mixture. I am not using this expression often, though. But maybe I will.
At the end of the day – as the saying goes – if I am not able to explain what I am doing to my grandparents, then I dont know what I do.
What are your experience and expressions how to define chromatographic separations?
Your comments and suggestions are more than welcome.
PS: if you are looking for a book which might introduce you in the field of liquid chromatography I strongly recommend Introduction to Modern Liquid Chromatography by Snyder, Kirkland and Dolan. And you might get it also for your Kindle ;-)
Not only from the chromatographic point of view, I wish you in the year 2010:
The inverse application of the size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) concept, inverse size-exclusion chromatography (ISEC) , utilizes a set of molecular probes with defined sizes to determine pore dimensions, and is also referred as chromatographic porosimetry .