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Editorial Article: Pittcon 2017 Highlights - A Show to Remember

Discover why the Scientists' Choice Awards were a highlight of this annual science event

27 Mar 2017

The Pittcon 2017 exposition floor


Started in 1950, The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy is an annual global exposition that offers scientists a hands-on look at the latest laboratory instrumentation. 

From renowned and multi-award winning scientist Dr. Karl Deisseroth discussing Integrated Brainwide Structural and Functional Analysis to 10-year-old Isaac Hales giving his first poster presentation, there was something for everyone at this year’s Pittcon in Chicago, USA. Dr. Deisseroth gave the Wallace H. Coulter Lecture to kick off four dynamic days of talks, technical sessions, the Scientists’ Choice Awards and much more.  Read on to catch up on the highlights from one of the world's biggest science shows.


Recognizing the best in the business

There was a crowd of around 300 people at the Scientists' Choice Awards presentation ceremony


In what was a highlight for many at the show, the winners of the 2017 Scientists’ Choice Awards for General Lab, Separations and Spectroscopy were announced on the Tuesday afternoon before an audience of hundreds. Among those recognised were world-renowned Orbitrap inventor Prof. Alexander Makarov who scooped the award for Article of the Year thanks to his fascinating insight into how the Hong Kong Jockey Club uses 24 state-of-the-art mass spectrometers to keep the sport of horseracing clean. 

Other winners included anti-doping expert Prof. Dr Francisco Radler, while manufacturers recognized by scientists for helping to further scientific progress internationally included BrukerThermo Fisher Scientific and Agilent Technologies (click the names to see their post-award video interviews). Eppendorf proudly picked up not one, but two awards - for Best New General Lab Product and for Customer Service

There was a particularly emotional acceptance speech by Philip Wyatt, of Wyatt Technology Corp., who spoke of his great pride at how his two sons Cliff and Geofrey had helped turn the family business into an award-winning operation on the global stage. He said: "Thank you SelectScience, this is a great shock for me but these wonderful sons of mine have done most of the hard work, I just come up with the product. My two sons have really taken my creation and made this into a spectacular company, because the real focus is our customers."


A celebration of innovation

SelectScience Editor Lois Manton-O'Byrne interviews Orbitrap inventor Prof. Alexander Makarov
Scientists' Choice Awards®
The annual Scientists' Choice Awards® celebrate the laboratory products and manufacturers that make a difference to the industry. Scientists are invited to nominate, vote and review online.


As ever, the annual conference was a showcase for scientific advancement. Among the innovations making waves on the show floor were:

Merck’s water purification system

Specac’s Quest ATR

Zeiss’ new range of microscopes

TA Instruments’ Discovery Thermal Analysis Suite

Daylight Solutions’ infrared chemical imaging microscope

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s triple quadrupole ICP-MS

Rigaku Corporation’s X-Ray analytical instrumentation portfolio

WITec GmbH’s new hardware and software developments

Shimadzu’s cannabis analyzer for potency


Car races and virtual reality experiences help draw crowds

Out on the Pittcon show floor floor, almost 800 exhibitors showcased their latest products, services and technologies as used by the scientific community in industrial, academic, and government research labs, with the Anton-Paar Mobile Lab especially eye-catching, rising above neighbouring stalls like some vast, high-tech motorhome. New initiatives for 2017 included the Expo Floor Magnificent Mile, which offered various activities for conferees to take part in. There were Lab Gauntlet challenge sections which drew lengthy queues; as well as gravity car racing, virtual reality experiences and Relaxation Stations.

Two live demo areas featured interactive product demonstrations from the likes of Malvern InstrumentsBrookfieldShimadzu and Metrohm, while other featured speakers included Jonathan Sweedler, of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who discussed Analytical Tools for the Cell by Cell Characterization of the Brain and David Walt, of Tufts University, on Single Molecule Arrays (Simoa) for Single Cell Analysis.

Other notable features in 2017 included the 28th James L. Waters Annual Symposium on Genomic Analysis Technologies, which discussed the history, science, and applications of the technologies developed by Illumina, Inc. and the unveiling of the new Duran Wheaton Kimble laboratory glassware brand.


Isaac Hayes, aged 10, presented The Mystery of Cercospore Control 

Scores of scientists took the chance to give poster presentations on a vast range of topics and research. But special mention must go to young science prodigy Isaac Hayes, who brought his family along from Midland, Michigan, as he presented his poster 'The Mystery of Cercospore Control' at the age of just 10 years old.


For more news and video interviews from the show floor, visit the Pittcon 2017 Special Feature.