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Chemistry professor receives New Mexico State's highest faculty award

Gary Eiceman, a professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University, has been selected to receive the university's highest faculty award, the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity.



Gary Eiceman, a professor of chemistry at New Mexico State University, has been selected to receive the university's highest faculty award, the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. (NMSU Photo by Darren Phillips)


Eiceman will be presented the award at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, at a ceremony in the Conroy Honors Center Commons Area. A reception will precede the ceremony at 3:30 p.m.

Eiceman will present "The Chemistry of Gas Phase Ions in Air at Ambient Pressure for Measurement Science: From the Mesilla Valley to Low Earth Orbit."

Eiceman is described by his colleagues as an outstanding scholar who has brought international recognition to the university for 23 years.

"He is an outstanding scholar that we are privileged to have in our ranks," said Amudhu Gopalan, head of the chemistry and biochemistry department who nominated Eiceman. "Gary has brought much international recognition to our university through his pioneering and highly significant research contributions to his discipline and has an enviable record in mentoring students of all levels."

Eiceman has been instrumental in building a top-notch program in the area of analytical chemistry at the university. He has established himself as one of the world's leading researchers in the field of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), which has been critical for homeland security, military preparedness and space exploration as it allows the ready detection of target organic molecules that are present in extremely small quantities in the environment. He is a founding member of the International Society for Ion Mobility Spectrometry and has been a member of its steering committee for 12 years.

Eiceman has obtained more than $6 million in grants for his research, has published in more than 150 peer-reviewed journals and has given more than 170 invited lectures. Between 1993 and 2003 he was cited by fellow researchers more than 700 times. He serves on the editorial board of "Talanta" and "The Journal of Field Analytical Chemistry and Technology." He also is the co-editor of "International Journal of Ion Mobility Spectrometry."

Eiceman has had his research featured in "Analytical Chemistry" and he will be profiled in the upcoming issue of the "Analyst." He is co-author of the book, "Ion Mobility Spectrometry," which is the standard reference text in this method of detecting toxic materials.

"Professor Eiceman can be considered one of the pioneers or top gurus of the community of IMS investigators," Gopalan said.

Eiceman's laboratory at NMSU routinely plays host to scientists involved in ambient pressure ion chemistry.

"Gary has done something most academicians never get to do," Gopalan said. "He has not just remained a theoretician, but has developed practical aspects of his technology."

Eiceman serves as a consultant to many government agencies and corporations, including NASA, Sandia National Laboratories, Mitre Corp. and Sionex Corp. He has received a citation from the U.S. Coast Guard thanking him for his research to help fight narcotic smuggling.

"He also takes his teaching very seriously and has brought much enthusiasm and innovation to the teaching of Chemistry 100 and courses in the area of analytical chemistry," Gopalan said.

Eiceman has mentored numerous graduate students over the years and a large number of undergraduates have gained valuable research experience in his laboratory.

"Dr. Gary Eiceman is an incredible faculty member we must recognize," Gopalan said.

The Westhafer Award is named for Robert L. Westhafer, a New Mexico State professor of mathematics who died in 1957. The award, which includes a $3,000 cash prize, has been presented each year since 1958. It is presented in alternate years for excellence in teaching and excellence in research and creative activity.