Walter Jennings is professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, and cofounder of J&W Scientific. His laboratory's efforts in window diagramming, combined with research into stationary phase chemistry, led to the first synthesis of a bonded, crosslinked stationary phase whose selectivity was specifically tailored to maximize the separation factors of all solute pairs in a given mixture. Jennings was also the first to demonstrate computer-generated van Deemter plots and their use in evaluating the effects of column and operational parameters.
In collaboration with one of his doctoral students, Jennings founded J&W Scientific in 1974. J&W grew to become the world’s largest supplier of fused silica columns and was purchased in 1986 by Fisons. In 1996, a management group led by Professor Jennings and backed by the corporate buyout arm of Dillon Reade, Inc., repurchased the company. In 2000, the company was sold to Agilent Technologies, Inc. for whom Dr. Jennings continues to function as a consultant.
Under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Jennings served as adviser in gas chromatography to the governments of Bulgaria and Poland. He has received many awards, including the Humboldt-Preis award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Founders Award in Gas Chromatography administered by the Beckman Corporation, the M.J.E. Golay Award, the Keene Dimick Award, and the A.J.P. Martin Gold Medal from the Chromatographic Society. Jennings is a past chairman of the American Chemical Society's subdivisions of Flavor Chemistry and Chromatography and Separation Science