Date of Birth: 14th Aug 1947
T+T Icons In Science & Technology Volume II
Professor Lincoln Hall is an internationally recognised chemist who helped put The University of the West Indies (UWI) on the world map. He is best known for his research on squaric acid1 and its derivative compounds. The most recent, significant application of this research was in the development of a new series of electron-transfer mediators2 for the American health care company, Abbott Laboratories, which requested his assistance in solving a problem with its blood glucose testing strips.
Lincoln Hall was born on 14th August, 1947 in Siparia, Trinidad. He attended the Siparia Union Canadian Mission School where he excelled, and was skipped three times. After completing Iere High School, he obtained a government teaching scholarship to attend UWI, where he completed his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1970 with First Class Honours in Chemistry. He taught at St. George’s College, Barataria and simultaneously pursued the Master of Science (MSc) in Inorganic Chemistry at UWI, St. Augustine, which he was awarded in 1974.
In 1978, after a year working at Lever Brothers West Indies Ltd, Hall was appointed Lecturer in Chemistry at UWI. He received his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Analytical Chemistry from UWI, St. Augustine in 1985. In 1992, he was promoted to the rank of Senior Lecturer and Head of the Inorganic Chemistry Department and was promoted again to Professor in 2003.
Professor Hall spent years conducting research on the organic compound, squaric acid. In 1993, he received a Leverhulme Award to conduct research at the Department of Chemistry of the Imperial College, University of London. His research has produced 78 new chemical compounds from squaric acid, all of which are listed in The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre database. Professor Hall has been investigating the practical uses of squaric acid derivatives in health and medicine. His focus has been on testing for possible applications as mediators, anti-cancer agents and image enhancers in Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI). In 2006, he received a research grant from the Principal of the St. Augustine Campus, UWI, for his research on mediators.
Professor Hall has also conducted research on heavy metals3 pollution in Trinidad and Tobago. He contributed to an Institute of Marine Affairs’ study on selected heavy metals in the Gulf of Paria, off the western coast of Trinidad. This study generated eight scientific papers and two national reports between 1986 and 1991. He also assisted in another study which investigated the concentrations of lead in the hair and blood of selected individuals in order to assess the impact of environmental lead.
Throughout his career, Professor Hall supervised several postgraduate students. Thanks to his skillful direction, two of these achieved the Best Thesis Award and received their doctorates with high commendations. In 2003, he received the Dean’s award for postgraduate research.
Professor Hall is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Caribbean Academy of Sciences and the American Chemical Society. His advice to budding scientists is that one should pursue research opportunities wherever they are found, including developed countries where research is funded and rewarded.
On 31st August, 2008, Lincoln Hall resigned his professorship at UWI after nearly thirty years of loyal service.
- A compound with square shaped molecules. It is often used as a monomer – a “building block” – in synthesising larger compounds, which may have applications different to squaric acid itself
- Mediators are crucial in blood glucose testing strips, which diabetics use to monitor their blood glucose levels
- Metallic elements which are poisonous to living organisms in high concentrations