R. Graham Cooks was educated at Port Shepstone High School and then at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, where he obtained a B.Sc. in chemistry and mathematics. He earned B. Sc. (Hons), M. Sc. and a Ph. D. in chemistry from Natal for research in natural products chemistry working with Prof. Frank L. Warren. He was awarded an Elsie Ballot scholarship to Cambridge and obtained a Ph. D. (Cantab.) for work on reactions of sulfur compounds under the direction of Dr. Peter Sykes in 1967. After post-doctoral work with Dr Dudley Williams at Cambridge, he took a position as Assistant Professor at Kansas State University. He moved to Purdue University in 1971 where he was promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 1980 and Henry Bohn Hass Distinguished Professor in 1990. He has served as major professor to 129 Ph. D. students. Cooks has held visiting positions at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Tsinghua University and other Chinese institutions. Cooks has been recognized with the Mass Spectrometry and the Analytical Chemistry awards of the American Chemical Society, the Robert Boyle Medal and the Centennial Prize of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Inventors and the US National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Cooks' research work is focused on mass spectrometry. He was a pioneer in the conception and implementation of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) and of desorption ionization, especially molecular secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS). His group now focusses on miniature portable mass spectrometers using ambient ionization, and applies this combination to problems of trace chemical analysis at point-of-care. His work on ionization methods led to the ambient method of desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) the applications of which include tissue diagnostics during cancer surgery. His interests in the fundamentals of ion chemistry focus on chiral analysis based on the kinetics of cluster ion fragmentation. His group also studies collisions of ions at surfaces. This experiment aims at new methods of molecular surface tailoring and analysis, and on nanomaterials preparation by soft-landing of ions and charged droplets. A form of preparative mass spectrometry based on accelerated reactions in microdroplets is being developed.

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Section 14: Chemistry