The decoration was presented to Peter Schoenmakers by Annette Groot, deputy mayor of the municipality of ‘Dijk en Waard’, after his valedictory speech marking his emeritus status as a professor of ‘Analytical Chemistry and its applications in Forensic Science’.
Unravelling the composition of chemical mixtures
Peter Schoenmakers has played an important role in developing the principles of chromatography, a separation technique used to unravel mixtures of different substances into their constituent components. Chromatography is considered the "workhorse" of chemical analysis and its applications range from industrial quality analysis to environmental analysis and forensic investigation. Schoenmakers has pioneered the development of comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LC×LC), enhancing the separation power from hundreds to thousands of chemical components and of comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC), moving from thousands to tens of thousands of components. He has created the concept of spatial three-dimensional liquid chromatography for the separation of a million components, which earned him a prestigious ERC Advanced grant in 2016. This research is ongoing and Schoenmakers will continue to be involved as an emeritus professor.
An influential scientist
Schoenmakers was listed several times in the top 10 most influential scientists in his field (The Analytical Scientist Power List) and received many prestigious international awards, notably the Dal Nogare Award (2019) and the Csaba Horváth Memorial Award (2015). In August, he will be presented with the 2022 Award in Chromatography by the American Chemical Society in Chicago. Although Schoenmakers spent only half of his career at the university, he has (co)authored more than 230 scientific publications in leading journals. He supervised the research of 36 PhD students and is an editor for Journal of Chromatography A.
Colleagues praise Schoenmakers' drive to achieve insight and understanding through in-depth research. He also receives much praise for his efforts in the field of academic education. He is an approachable and inspiring professor for his students, and his lectures and presentations excel in both content and entertainment. Schoenmakers inspired many students and was a tireless initiator of talent programs, summer schools and scholarship schemes.
Analytical Chemistry in the Netherlands
As a professor, Schoenmakers led the analytical-chemistry team in Amsterdam towards national recognition as a centre of expertise for analytical sciences in The Netherlands. He maintains a very extensive network of international, industrial and academic contacts that he uses to further develop analytical chemistry in the Netherlands. Schoenmakers has been one of the instigators of COAST, the public-private Community of Innovation in Analytical Science and Technology in The Netherlands. As its education director he has created programs to stimulate analytical-science studies, with support for education amounting to more than 300,000 € annually.
Royal commendation ‘Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion’
This royal commendation is one of the oldest and highest civil honours in the Netherlands. King Willem I established the Order on 29 September, 1815. Candidates who have made an exceptional contribution to society, especially in science, art, sports and literature, are eligible for this honour.
The valedictory speech of Peter Schoenmakers can be viewed at the UvA weblectures website.