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BYU’s Milton Lee Earns Two Acclaimed Chemistry Awards

Photo by Mark Philbrick

Brigham Young University’s emeritus chemistry professor, Milton Lee, was awarded the American Chemical Society National Award in Analytical Chemistry on April 2, 2019. Recently retired, Lee has published nearly 600 articles and given over 500 presentations throughout his career, which cumulatively represent enormous advancements in the field.

“Having one of our own win the top ACS award in their field is a rare event,” said David Dearden, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “We are very proud of Milton.” The purpose of the ACS Analytical Chemistry Award is to “recognize and encourage outstanding contributions to the science of analytical chemistry.” Lee has done this through innovative contributions to the field of analytical chemistry.


Lee’s research focus is mass spectrometry detection and capillary separations. Professor Lee’s keynote lecture at the International Symposium on Capillary Chromatography in May 2018 highlighted the trend in making mobile chromatography instruments. Chromatography is the study and separation of mixtures. Lee is developing a hand-sized instrument for point detection of chemical warfare agents and environmental chemicals. The battery-operated device can detect and measure dangerous chemicals on the spot. Lee is working on a way to make these instruments miniaturized as he increases the trapping volume of the ion. He is also working on minimizing the power requirements.

Dr. Lee was also presented with the historic Csaba Horváth Memorial Award on October 22, 2018. This award is given to the top separation science chemist in the world. The medal recognizes a person whose shows dedicated contributions to the field of separation science, and Milton Lee has shown his devotion to the field in more ways than one.

In addition to these awards, Lee has co-founded several companies, including Axcend, Sensar Corporation, Torion Technologies, and Lee Scientific, the latter of which develops and markets fluid chromatography instrumentation. Lee has and will continue to improve the field of separation science, as he has been an example to others throughout the world.