Richard Laurence Millington Synge
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1952
Born: 28 October 1914, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Died: 18 August 1994, Norwich, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn (Scotland), United Kingdom
Prize motivation: “for their invention of partition chromatography”
Prize share: 1/2
When a drop of a liquid containing a mixture of various substances is placed on paper, the liquid begins to spread out on the paper. The various substances in the mixture spread at different speeds, however, which gives rise to marks on the paper with different colors. In the 1940s Richard Synge and Archer Martin used this and similar phenomena in gas mixtures, for example, to develop different types of chromatography—methods for separating substances in mixtures and for determining the composition of mixtures.