Terry A. Berger '68, Ph.D.
2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
Terry Berger '68 served as the editor for gas chromatography subject in the journal Chromatographia since 1991. He has been a reviewer for major chromatography journals and for the National Science Foundation. He is best known for his resurrection of packed column supercritical fluid chromatography and is internationally renowned for his expertise in separation science. He is considered by many to be the father of modern supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) which is used for the analysis of molecular weight.
Starting in 1985, he spent more than a decade systematically undoing many of the misconceptions about packed column SFC. He showed that, contrary to several proposed theories, very long columns with large pressure drops were feasible. He led a team in the development of separator technology which allows quantitative recovery of solutes without cyclone separators or aerosol generation. This development won a R&D 100 award as one of the 100 most important technical developments of 2000.
Terry earned his Bachelor of Science degree at Carroll in 1968 and was recognized as the outstanding senior in physical science. Following graduation, his education took several twists and turns. As a young scientist, he was willing to move from one graduate program to another to build his expertise and achieve his educational goals. He began at the University of Florida, but moved on to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to obtain his Master of Science degree in analytical chemistry.
From there, he went to Purdue University for two years before moving to England to attend Imperial College for his doctoral work, which he completed in 1976. He then accepted a visiting professorship in Brazil at the Universidad Federal de Pernambuco. In 1977, he moved his family back to the United States and worked as a project leader for Life Systems, designing and building life support systems for spacecraft and submarines. After two years of electrochemical experience with fuel cells, he accepted a position with Hewlett-Packard in Avondale, Pa. His initial projects were focused on gas chromatography.
Terry started Berger Instruments in 1995 when he took over the manufacturing of the Hewlett-Packard SFC, adapting it to better fit the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. He held the posts of president, vice president and chief technical officer. He sold Berger Instruments in 2000.
Terry had a book published by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1995 and has also published eight book chapters, plus approximately 50 scientific papers. He has presented or participated in more than 20 short courses on SFC for various organizations, has given more than 300 invited presentations, presented hundreds of posters, and has received or is in the process of obtaining 30 patents. He was awarded the Martin Gold Medal for lifetime achievement by the Chromatographic Society of Great Britain in 2004, one of the most important awards in the field.
Berger is currently Chief Technology Officer at Aurora SFC Systems, Inc., which provides scientific chromatography instruments based on next-generation technology. Terry and his wife, Leslie, live in Englewood, Fla.