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  • Phone: 315/268-4483
08-24-2015

Clarkson University Chemist's 17th Book Celebrates Polarography

Clarkson University Distinguished Emeritus Research Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Petr Zuman is the author or co-author of 17 books, but his most recent one is especially dear to the 89-year-old because it highlights his first scientific love -- polarography.

Petr ZumanFor non-scientists, polarography is an electrochemical technique used to determine the composition of solutions. Zuman was introduced to polarography in 1947 by his mentor, Jaroslav Heyrovsky, who was honored for his pioneering work with the 1959 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

As one of 15 chapter authors for the just-published Springer textbook Electroanalysis in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zuman devoted his topic to what also became his scientific specialty.

“When you have a chemical preparation, you need to know what percent of it is really in the tablet,” he explains. “Then when you're dealing with patients, you must follow how and where in the body the medicine has located. By using polarography, you can be sure you are getting reliable information.”

With more than 60 years in his field, Zuman is one of the last surviving direct collaborators of Heyrovsky.

“I was privileged to work with him for 16 years,” Zuman notes.

Geared for pharmaceutical chemists, the book is sub-titled “Voltammetry, Amperometry, Biosensors, Applications.”

Sibel A. Ozkan, a professor of pharmacy from Turkey, put together an international team of writers headed by herself, Zuman, and Jean-Michel Kauffmann of Belgium.

The collaboration “went very well,” and brought happy memories to Zuman, who has been to Turkey several times.

“I went there as a Fulbright fellow and enjoyed myself,” he says. “I was at a conference and immediately had 30 students around me. Everyone was listening to every word. They really want to learn.”

Zuman received his doctorate in organic electrochemistry and physical organic chemistry from Charles University, Prague, and doctorates from the University of Birmingham (UK) and the University of Bologna (Italy).

He was appointed to the faculty at Clarkson University in 1970. A prolific writer, he has published more than 450 research papers. One of his books, published in 1966, has been quoted in more than 7,400 research papers.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/zuman.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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