Professor Joseph Anthony Caruso: in memoriam

Gary M. Hieftje a and Maria Montes-Bayon b
aDepartment of Chemistry, Indiana University, 800 East Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA
bDepartment of Physical and Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Oviedo, Julián Clavería 8, 33006 Oviedo, Spain

It is now more than one year since Joe Caruso passed away and much has already been written to recognize his many important contributions to science, collegiality, and mentorship; good examples can be found in the Agilent ICP-MS Journal, February, 2016, pp. 2–5. Rather than to repeat this material or provide additional testimonials, we will emphasize here Joe’s involvement with the RSC and some of its journals: the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry (JAAS), Metallomics, Chemical Society Reviews, and Analyst. This emphasis seems particularly fitting since this memorial will appear in a special joint issue of the two RSC journals JAAS and Metallomics.

Joseph Anthony Caruso

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Like most RSC journals, JAAS has two boards, an International Advisory Board and a much smaller Editorial Board, the latter intended to provide frequent, direct input into journal goals, priorities, and policies. Joe Caruso served on the International Advisory Board or Editorial Board of JAAS from 1998 to the time of his death. He was the first non-European to become a member of the JAAS Editorial Board and the first to serve as its chair (from 2000–2004). Joe worked together with RSC editors, particularly Niamh O’Connor, in founding and establishing the journal Metallomics, and chaired its Editorial Board during its formative years (2008–2012). In addition, he was on the advisory or editorial boards of other RSC journals, including Chemical Society Reviews and Analyst.

Roughly 30% of Joe Caruso’s scientific work has been published in RSC journals, mainly JAAS (92), Analyst (19) and Metallomics (12). In addition, three of his top ten most cited papers are found in these journals; each boasts more than 100 citations. These most cited contributions involve As and Se speciation research using either conventional hybrid methods or the most creative coupled devices such as supercritical fluid chromatography-plasma mass spectrometry or gas-chromatography with low-pressure ICP-MS.

In more general terms, it is difficult to overstate the impact that Joe Caruso has had on the field of Analytical Chemistry or, indeed, on science in general. He was the preceptor of roughly 100 PhD recipients at the University of Cincinnati and published more than 400 papers, most in top scientific journals. He presented nearly 400 invited lectures at academic institutions and at national and international conferences. Because of these achievements, Joe received many of the most highly coveted awards in the field of Analytical Chemistry. Perhaps most surprising is that he accomplished all this while holding a number of administrative posts at the University of Cincinnati, including Department Chair and Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Others have offered to write testimonies to Joe Caruso’s influence on their lives and science, but all cannot be included here. As a representative example, Dr Juris Meija (NRC Canada) recently wrote “One cannot think of Caruso without remembering his uplifting humour and the anecdotes through which he showed us how to become better and more approachable scientists”. This aspect of Joe’s impact is echoed by many.

We feel privileged to be involved in preparing this collection of manuscripts for the joint issue of JAAS and Metallomics. One of us (MMB) was fortunate to enjoy Joe’s presence in her life during a post-doctorate as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Cincinnati. She states, “he was the perfect academic role model for me, and a wonderful mentor from the outset; we enjoyed corresponding with one another without the labels of mentor and mentee. Joe had an amazing impact on who I am today, as a scientist but also as a person”. The other (GMH), knew Joe during most of our nearly coincident academic careers. Hieftje indicates, “we were proud to have been among the die-hard proponents of Microwave-Induced Plasmas (commemorated by Joe’s commissioning of t-shirts emblazoned with ‘MIPS Are Us’) and enjoyed both collaboration and competition. Joe’s science was terrific, but even more impressive to me was his zest for life, his enthusiasm, and his ever-present optimism. I have never been able to visualize Joe without a smile on his face”.

Twenty-three scientific contributions have been submitted to this joint issue of JAAS and Metallomics; they reveal the international recognition of and regard for Joe Caruso and the appreciation from the spectroscopy community. This compilation does not fully represent or include all who loved and admired Joe Caruso, but serves as an appropriate sampling.

Gary M. Hieftje

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Maria Montes-Bayon

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This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017