Awards and medals are an important mechanism by which scientific societies increase awareness and recognition of important fields of study. To honor researchers who have made an important impact in the field of chemometrics, the Chemometrics Division of the Swedish Chemical Society founded The Herman Wold medal in 1995. The Herman Wold medal is struck in pure gold and highlights important advances in chemometrics. It is named after the Swedish statistician Herman Wold (1908–1992) who worked in the field of time series analysis and econometrics at Uppsala University. The recipients of the medal are persons who have contributed significantly to the development and proliferation of chemometrics in research, development and production. In addition, this should be done “in the spirit of Herman Wold.”
It has become a tradition that the winner of the Herman Wold medal is announced at a meeting in the biannual series of Scandinavian Symposium on Chemometrics conferences (SSC). The first Herman Wold medal recipient was Svante Wold (SSC4, Lund, Sweden, 1995), followed by Agnar Höskuldsson (SSC5, Lahti, Finland, 1997), Harald Martens (SSC6, Porsgrunn, Norway, 1999), John MacGregor (SSC7, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2001), Rolf Carlson (SSC8, Mariehamn, Åland, Finland, 2003), and Olav Kvalheim (SSC9, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2005).
At SSC10 in Lappeenranta 2007 Professor Pentti Minkkinen, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland, was awarded with the seventh Herman Wold medal for his work in sampling strategies. As an associate expert in two United Nations' Mineral exploration projects in Turkey and Egypt in 1973–1975, professor Minkkinen became interested in analytical quality control. In 1976 he was appointed as an Associate Professor and later on full Professor in Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland. After retiring at the end of 2007, he still remains scientifically active, especially in the field of sampling. He was also a member of EURACHEM Working Group for Uncertainty arising from Sampling 2004–2007and an Associate Member of the Division of Analytical Chemistry, International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) 2006–2009. Professor Minkkinen has over 80 original research articles in peer review journals, of which 15 are on sampling.
The eighth Herman Wold medal was received by Professor Michael Sjöström, Umeå University, Sweden in 2008. This was announced at the Euro-QSAR meeting in Uppsala in September 2008. Professor Sjöström was the first graduate student at the Research Group for Chemometrics, Umeå University, Sweden. He got his Ph.D. there in 1976 with a thesis on the theory and statistics of the Hammett equation and other extra-thermodynamical relationships. This was the beginning of the Umeå Chemometrics group, which then led to the SIMCA method and later to PLS for quantitative pattern recognition. After his dissertation he spent a post-doc year with Bruce Kowalski in University of Washington in Seattle. He then returned to Umeå, where he spent a fruitful chemometrics/physical organics career on research and education in the areas of structure-reactivity and structure activity (QSAR) relationships, solvent effects (the Kamlet-Taft controversy), sequence activity relationships, PLS, PLS-discriminant analysis, and similar problems. Professor Sjöström has over 175 scientific articles in international journals. Sjöström has been a central person in Chemometrics, and has been part of the Umeå group since its beginning around 1968. His kind but clever personality very much contributed to its success. Michael is also one of the founders of the International Chemometrics Society.
Associate Professor Johan Trygg, Umeå University, Sweden, received his Herman Wold medal at the SSC11 in Loen/Stryn, Norway, 2009, joining the group of well-known and legendary professors at an early age. He was rewarded for his creative development of new methods for modeling and interpretation of biological and medical data by OPLS (orthogonal projections to latent structures). OPLS is already in use by more than 150 Swedish companies, 50 international institutions and the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It has also become a standard method in the rapidly growing field of “omics” research. Professor Trygg has over 90 publications in international Journals. Johan Trygg is also now the Chair of the Chemometrics Division of the Swedish Chemical Society.
The editorial group behind this double issue also recently had a chance to interview Professor Svante Wold, the son of Herman Wold, who together with Michael Sjöström and Rolf Carlson shaped the “Umeå-school” of chemometrics research and education: “I am impressed by the broad scope and the investigative skills presented by the group of articles compiled in this issue,” says Svante, and continues “I really enjoy seeing so many excellent studies being produced in the spirit of the work done by Herman.” Svante has formally retired from Umeå University and today runs his own company (NNS Consulting) together with his wife Nouna. He has also contributed one article to this special issue: “I will always continue to do chemometrics research, at my own pace, and try to propose simple, reliable and interpretable solutions to important data analytical issue,” says Svante. With this statement, he actually summarizes the gist of the many papers featured in this issue, namely to advance the chemometrics toolbox to include ever improving methods for the benefit of the people who analyze our continually increasing masses of data.
This special issue of the Journal of Chemometrics is to honor the Herman Wold medal winners 2007–2009: Professor Pentti Minkkinen, Professor Michael Sjöström, and Associate Professor Johan Trygg. The editorial group is very grateful to all the contributors and we are proud of the final result.