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HomeIDRC 2016 Short Courses

Short Courses

A special integrated 2-day (July 30th & 31st) short course is planned for IDRC 2016. Four chosen experts on diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (Donald Dahm, Neal Gallagher, David Hopkins, and Lois Weyer) are preparing to share their hard-won insights in a concentrated team-taught format. Newcomers and experienced researchers alike should see diffuse reflectance in a new light and be prepared to benefit optimally from the subsequent IDRC technical sessions.


Course topics include: Physics of Diffuse Reflectance, Introduction to Chemometric Methods, Theory and Application of Spectral Pre-treatments, and Interpreting Molecular Vibrational Spectra.

Arrive Early!

Short course participants are encouraged to arrive Friday, July 29 and take advantage of the pre-conference housing and meals registration option.
Courses will start at 8:30 am each day and end at approximately 4:30 pm.


  Dr. Lois Weyer began her industrial analytical chemist career in the UV-Vis-NIR laboratory at Hercules Incorporated and inherited the Cary 14 spectrometer upon which Robert Goddu and Dorothy Delker had done their extensive near IR work in the 1950s and 60s. Although the near IR spectral region had fallen out of favor by the 1970s, the need for justifying the purchase of a new UV-Vis-NIR instrument for the lab prompted her to explore the capabilities of the near IR region. Literature surveys led to the publication of a review article and eventually book chapters and a book co-authorship. The new class of rapid-scan NIR instruments was ideal for chemical process analyses and Lois initiated a program to provide Hercules plants with new methods for quality control, problem solving, and process analysis. These efforts led to internal publications, a patent and several disclosures of invention, and many presentations at international conferences. She has also taught short courses in near IR spectroscopy and process analysis for many years. She holds a BA degree in chemistry from Douglass College of Rutgers University, an MS in physical chemistry from the University of Delaware, and earned a PhD in analytical chemistry in 1996 at the University of Delaware while working fulltime at Hercules. She was awarded the EAS award for achievements in NIR in 1992 and the Delaware Valley Spectroscopy of the Year award in 1999. She has been on editorial boards of journals, and is active in American Chemical Society and Society for Applied Spectroscopy groups. She retired from Orbital-ATK in 2012.
  Dr. Neal B. Gallagher is co-founder of Eigenvector Research, Inc. and co-author of PLS_Toolbox, Solo and MIA_Toolbox. He holds a doctorate in Chemical Engineering and has experience in a wide variety of applications spanning chemical process monitoring, hyperspectral image analysis, anomaly and target detection, quantification and classification, regression modeling and analytical instrumental development. He has extensive teaching experience including Eigenvector University and dozens of chemometric courses.
  Dr. Donald Dahm  spent 24 years working for Monsanto, a large chemical company. When his unit was offered for sale, he was without a job, and Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy seemed “better than nothing”, as he was drawn toward the emerging Chemometrics in the field. Quite by accident, he wound up working at NIRSystems alongside Karl Norris, who convinced him the real need in the field was a better theory for particulate samples. For the next 24 years, the theory of light scatter as it applies to Absorption Spectroscopy has been his hobby. Thirteen of these years, he was a teaching professor at Rowan University, in Glassboro, New Jersey, USA.
Don received a BA in Chemistry and Mathematics from Central University of Iowa, and a PhD from Iowa State University. His graduate research was in the field of X-ray Crystallography. During the Vietnam War, he also had a half time civilian appointment at an Atomic Energy Commission Research Reactor setting up neutron scattering experiments.

When I asked Ian Michael whether he wanted to publish a second edition of our book, Interpreting Diffuse Reflectance and Transmittance, he said that what people were asking for was a simpler version of the theory rather than an updated one. This course is a preview of such a primer on the “theory of light scatter as it applies to Absorption Spectroscopy of scattering samples”.
As I have tried to clarify the confusing parts of the theory, I have discovered an array of theoretical limitations that have been lost as information has been passed among us. For example,
1) An absorption coefficient is a parameter in a model, and not necessarily a material property. While two parameters (from different models) may both be called absorption coefficients, they may not be the same thing at all.
2) The definition for absorbance of { log(1/T) } only makes sense for non-scattering samples.

So we’re going to take things a step at a time, rooting out our misconceptions, and making the limitations of our maths and models obvious. We will not seep ourselves in the mathematics, but seek to understand what they are describing physically, putting pictures in our heads to go with a “final formula”. We will expose the “intellectual bullying” that folks do as they discuss their favorite model, and I will try my best to keep from intimidating you.
  David W. Hopkins, Ph. D. - NIR Consultant, Battle Creek, MI
David Hopkins earned his Ph. D. from the University of California, San Diego, using UV-visible spectroscopic and immunologic techniques to study the conformational changes of a light-sensitive protein that controls development in many plant species. He joined DICKEY-John in 1978 as Lab Supervisor responsible for lab determinations of moisture, protein, fat and fiber, and the determination of NIR calibrations. By producing Universal Calibrations for wheat, barley, corn, soybeans and many other food and feed products, he helped make NIR widely used in the food and agricultural sectors. In 1986 he joined Kellogg Co., where he led the NIR Analytical Group, producing calibrations for many finished foods and raw materials. These were used in Kellogg plants and at supplier locations to help Kellogg achieve consistent product quality. In 1992 he formed his own consulting company to bring his experience and expertise to companies engaged in the development and manufacture of NIR equipment and companies wishing to employ NIR technology effectively. He has worked in the Pharmaceutical, Food, Chemical, and Petrochemical sectors. David has presented many short courses in NIR Spectroscopy, Chemometrics and the use of chemometric software at international meetings and at diverse corporate sites. He has made a specialty of studying and presenting the effective use of spectral pre-treatments.