Mass Spectrometry

Replica of Francis W. Aston's third mass spectrometer. Image courtesy of Jeff Dahl.

Mass spectroscopy is a technique used to analyze a molecule or an unknown sample in order to determine its elemental composition; it can also be used to ascertain the chemical structures of molecules.  The rudiments of mass spectroscopy were discovered in the 19th century, though advances in this technique in the twentieth century led to many new and important understandings of the molecular world.

Sponsored, in part, by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (indicated by an asterisk), these oral histories document personal perspectives related to the advancement of mass spectrometric instrumentation and record the human dimensions of the growth of mass spectrometry in academic, industrial, and governmental laboratories during the 20th century.  Chosen for their relevance to the history of mass spectroscopy, the individuals interviewed in this ongoing collection help to shed light upon the simplicity and complexity of this ever-changing technique.

Individuals interviewed for this project so far are:



Click here for a more detailed description of each of the oral histories in this collection.