Most Influential Man in Chromatography – Dr. Lloyd R. Snyder

American chemist, Dr. Lloyd R. Snyder, contributions led to uncovering principles of liquid chromatography, applying them in articles, short courses, and books, has passed away on September 20th, 2018 at 87 years old.

At the early age of nine, Snyder knew he wanted to have a career in chemistry, the result of receiving a chemistry set for Christmas. He was fascinated with the jig-saw allusion of compounds being predictably assembled by atoms. He used his local library as an endless source of chemical facts and history, absorbing as much as he could.

Within a few years, he was able to master the equivalence of a high-school chemistry course on his own and even assembled his own chemistry lab in the basement of his house. Even though he came close to burning his childhood home down a few times, especially after an instance of producing his own nitroglycerine and the time he discovered that HCl plus KClO4 does not produce Cl2, but the highly explosive Cl2O7.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Snyder went on to work for Shell Oil Company, Technicolor, and Union Oil Company, making professional strides along the way. He bounced from place to place and project to project, with what he describes his professional life as “largely unplanned”.

Snyder’s interests were focused on the areas of liquid chromatography and clinical chemistry, where he made strides in the compositional analysis of petroleum, the theory of retention in adsorption chromatography, and the development of high-performance liquid chromatography.

He challenged himself throughout his career solving problems within chromatography that others had yet to solve. An early problem of column switching triggered his interest. Analyzing complex mixtures containing a large number of components, specifically gasoline samples from catalytic reformers, proved to be difficult for most chromatographers. He found that no single column would provide a decent resolution of these samples because of limited peak capacity.

Snyder was the author of several books including An Introduction to Separation Science, Introduction to Modern Liquid Chromatography, Second Edition, the bestselling Practical HPLC Method Development, Second Edition, and the comprehensive High-Performance Gradient Elution.

Towards the end of his life, even with the health trials, Snyder’s brain never slowed down. He was active in a research project with Dr. Dwight Stoll and others as recently as a month before his death.

Snyder greatly improved the practice of high pressure liquid chromatography and was proud of that fact.

“The overall story (of my life) resembles the life of the movie protagonist Forrest Gump. Like Gump I was unexpectedly fortunate, sometimes oblivious to the flow of events, and in some ways not very bright. I did however have some advantages: my exposure in graduate school to physical-organic chemistry and model building, and my early introduction to chromatography. I was also favored by an early start on my future career, at age nine.”

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