The longtime Purdue University professor won the third Dreyfus Prize in the chemical sciences in 2013 for research that advanced the field of chemical instrumentation. Cooks was nominated for his impact in instrumentation development and mass spectrometry, a technique of identifying compounds in complex mixtures. Potential applications include medical diagnosis, explosives detection and chemical fingerprinting such as that featured on the television program “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” 

Cooks will give a free, public talk, Mass Spectrometry for Chemical Synthesis and On-site Analysis,” at 2 p.m. May 4 in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium on the Belknap Campus.

UofL’s Chemistry Graduate Student Association sponsors the annual distinguished lecturer series with Clariant.

            Cooks is the Henry Hass distinguished professor of analytical chemistry at Purdue, where he has worked since 1976. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has received many awards including top prizes from the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemists. He earned doctoral degrees from Cambridge University and from University of Natal in South Africa.

Cooks’ more scientifically oriented talk about possible sources of a fundamental property of biological molecules — “Homochirality and Origins” — will begin at 1:30 p.m. May 5, also in Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium.

For more information, contact Kelsey Sparks at 859-630-3781 or

Judy Hughes
Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.