Chords and Chemistry and the Benefits of Choosing Wisely

By October 2, 2020


“A true measure of excellence for Waters is in orchestrating consistent instrument and chemistry optimization across applications, methods, and workflows.”

Guitar Rob BucoI was on a job interview – more specifically, for my first position at Waters – where I was asked a compelling question. The question had to do with the consideration that Waters was a company known for its LC instrumentation and how might I feel working in the group that was responsible for its line of chemistries.

I took a moment to collect my thoughts before responding. What came to my mind?

First, as an analytical chemist, I couldn’t help but think about that incredibly sweet feeling that comes from seeing a shiny new piece of chromatography equipment being wheeled into the laboratory. With it, I might advance my next big insight, generate previously undiscovered connections, and play a part in bettering our lives and our world for the good of humanity.

Along with that thought, I was also considering that, if it were not for chemistries, new discoveries would fall short or would just not happen at all. Without the right column, even the most advanced instrumentation would not deliver the desired result, losing an opportunity to gain valuable insight toward the next discovery – large or small.

Finally, I was thinking about my new Life is Good® t-shirt that my daughters recently gave to me for my birthday and the message that appeared on the back: The music is not in the guitar.

The music is not in the guitar

As an impassioned guitarist, my response to the interview question was that, just like the music is not in the guitar, the discovery is not in the LC.

You could have the finest guitar, artfully crafted using superb hardwoods. But, if you put the wrong strings on it, it’s just not going to sound right. If it isn’t properly tuned, it’s not going to sound right. If you don’t have the technical skill to play, it’s not going to sound right. And, if you don’t have the talent to bring to the instrument, it’s just not going to do what you wanted it to do.

The discovery is not in the LC

Scientific instruments are quite similar. You can have a system built with some of the finest specifications in the world, like the Arc HPLC System. If you put the wrong chemistry on it and you aren’t able to use it the way your science needs you to, the instrument is just not going to give you the results you need. The pressure to produce will set in, and your experimental obstacles will prevail.

Bringing out the harmony

The answer that Waters brings to this challenge is the fact that our R&D and product teams truly work together as one. The instruments, the chemistries, and the software are designed holistically to work in harmony. Misalignment – being out of tune, so to speak – becomes a non-issue. A true measure of excellence for Waters is in orchestrating consistent instrument and chemistry optimization across applications, methods, and workflows.

Clearly, every company wants any and all of its technologies to lead the industry, no matter what. But making sure each technology is optimized for use together is what sets Waters apart. In doing so, experimental obstacles are avoided. Your successful runs and scientific progress consistently prevail.

Following my response to the question and completion of the interviewing process, I was offered the job at Waters and enthusiastically accepted the role. For me, having the opportunity to start my career at Waters on the chemistries team, collaborating with both the instrument and software groups, was an exceptional experience, and continues to be one.

Just like music, chemistry impacts our lives. I am grateful to play a part in the ensemble we call the Waters LC team.

Robert Buco is Director of LC Systems Product Management at Waters Corporation, a proud father, and avid guitarist.

Learn more about Waters’ integrated LC portfolio. Plus: Have you heard about our new FlexUP Technology Renewal Program? Easily and cost-effectively replace your older instruments with state-of-the-art technology to stay protected from obsolescence and its high degree of risk.


Categories: Technologies