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Don Dahm Wins Gerald S. Birth Award for JNIRS Papers

The Council for Near Infrared Spectroscopy (CNIRS) has announced that the 2014 winner of the Gerald S. Birth Award for best work in diffuse spectroscopy published in 2012–2013 is Dr Donald J. Dahm. He is receiving recognition for his papers, “Explaining some light scattering properties of milk using representative layer theory”, published in J. Near Infrared Spectrosc. 21, 323–339 (2013), and “Separating the effects of scatter and absorption using the representative layer” by Kevin D. Dahm and Donald J. Dahm, J. Near Infrared Spectrosc. 21, 351–357 (2013). In these papers, a new definition of absorbance is presented, applicable to samples that scatter light, along with a scheme to extract the “Beer’s Law” absorbance from a combination of transmission and remission data. The first paper is a refereed review of the spectroscopy of milk, as an example of light scattering liquids and illustrating the effects of concentrations of absorbers in the scattering particles or in the liquid phase, interpreted using the representative layer theory that Donald has been developing for many years. This review includes an explanation of how his theory may be considered an outgrowth of Raleigh or Mie scattering theory. It is an application and development of the ideas presented in the book published in 2007, Interpreting Diffuse Reflectance and Transmittance. A Theoretical Introduction to Absorption Spectroscopy of Scattering Materials, by Donald and his son Kevin. The review uses practically no mathematical formulas. The important formulas are presented in the second paper, which complete the presentation of the use of the representative layer theory, and shows how the properties of absorption and scattering affect each other. Example calculations and a summary of earlier publications of equations involving scattering are presented. The review demonstrates Donald’s careful study of Gerry Birth’s work and the passion to understand the interaction between light and particles that Gerry and Donald shared. The award and a lecture by Donald as part of a special symposium will be presented at the 17th International Conference on Diffuse Reflectance, 2–8 August 2014.

Dr Dahm received a BA degree in Chemistry and Mathematics at Central College, Pella, IA, USA, and was awarded his PhD in Physical Chemistry at Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA. He is currently a professor at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ. In 2004 he received the Outstanding Achievement in NIR Spectroscopy Award from the Eastern Analytical Symposium. He is a highly regarded teacher, and in 2011 was selected by Rowan students as the professor they wished to give “The Last Lecture”, an annual event where professors speak about “Life Lessons” rather than their technical area.

The Gerald S. Birth Award, conferred every two years for an outstanding publication describing innovation in diffuse reflection or diffuse transmission spectroscopy, is administered by the CNIRS and sponsored by Unity Scientific Corp. in memory of Gerald Birth. The late Dr Birth was the founder of the IDRC, who also made many contributions to instrument technology related to diffuse reflection. It is fitting that the Birth Award this year is conferred upon Dr Dahm, who also has a deep interest in understanding the interaction of scattering and absorption in diffusely scattering samples.

Congratulations Don, from all at IM Publications!