Lloyd Ferguson Symposium

March 12, 2004


Dr. Willie E. May Cheif
Institute of Standards and Technology, Gathersburg, MD


Willie E. May received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Knoxville College, Knoxville, TN in 1968 and his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Maryland at College Park, MD in 1977. He was employed at the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant from 1968-1971. He joined the National Bureau of Standards, as a Research Chemist, in 1971. He became Group Leader for Liquid Chromatography, Organic Analytical Research Division 1976 and became Chief of the Division in 1983. In 1994, Dr. May became Chief of the Analytical Chemistry Division (a combination of the Organic Analytical and Inorganic Analytical Chemistry Divisions

The Analytical Chemistry Division is one of five Divisions in the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dr. May is responsible for policy development, planning, priority setting, fiscal allocation, staffing, and management of the day-to-day operations of the Division's approximately 100 scientists, technicians and administrative/clerical support staff. The Division has an annual budget of about $15M of which about $6M supports programs of other Federal and State Government Agencies and/or American Industry on a cost reimbursable basis.

The Division serves as the Nation's reference laboratory for chemical measurements and standards to enhance U.S. industry's productivity and competitiveness, assure equity in trade, and provide quality assurance for chemical measurements used for assessing and improving public health, safety, and the environment. The Division maintains world-class metrologically based core competencies in: Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy, Chemical Sensing Technology, Classical and Electroanalytical Methods, Gas Metrology, Mass Spectrometry, Microanalytical Technologies, Nuclear Analytical Methods and Separation Science.

These competencies provide the capability to carry out the Division's broad mission and the flexibility to respond to changing and evolving national priorities. These core competencies reside in five Groups: Spectrochemical Methods, Organic Analytical Methods Gas Metrology and Classical Methods Molecular Spectrometry and Microfluidic Methods and Nuclear Analytical Methods.

Dr. May's personal research activities were focussed in the area of trace organic analytical chemistry, with special emphasis on the development of liquid chromatographic methods for the determination of individual organic species in complex mixtures (i.e., extracts of environmental, food, and clinical samples) and the development of liquid chromatographic methods for the determination of physico-chemical properties such as aqueous solubilities, octanol/water partition coefficients, and vapor pressures of organic compounds. This work is described in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. He has presented more than 150 invited lectures during his 30-year professional career at U.S. industrial sites, Colleges/Universities and Technical Meetings throughout the world.

Dr. May has several leadership responsibilities in addition to those at NIST. Currently he is Chair, Organic Analysis Working Group, Consultative Committee on the Quantity of Material, International Committee for Weights and Measures; Chair, Technical Committee, North American Metrology Cooperation; Chair, Chemical Metrology Working Group, Interamerican System for Metrology; and Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Traceability in Laboratory Medicine Working Group on Reference materials and Reference Procedures. In the past he has served as President and Executive Board Member for the International Society for Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds; Chair, Physical Sciences Panel, Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Evaluation Board; Chair, Chemistry Panel, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Chair, Chemical Metrology Subpanel, Institute for National Measurement Standards, Canadian National Research Council; and Chair, Committee on Minority Affairs, American Chemical Society.

Honors and Awards presented to Dr. May include: Department of Commerce Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals; National Institute of Standards and Technology Equal Employment Opportunity Award (1982 and 1993); Arthur S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in the Federal Government before the age of 40; Presidential Award for Senior Executive Service to the Federal Government; the NOBCChE Percy L. Julian Award for Outstanding Research in Organic Analytical Chemistry; and the 2001 Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Analytical Chemistry Award given by the Analytical Division of the American Chemical Society.