Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The mass spec wars continue...

Spectrometry versus spectroscopy redux 
In his letter to the editor (C&EN, Aug. 27, page 3), O. David Sparkman complains that the table of contents headline for the C&EN cover story of May 28 uses the term mass “spectroscopy,” insisting that there “is no such thing.” The International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry, an acknowledged expert source for nomenclature and terminology, refers to its published recommendation “Recommendations for Nomenclature and Symbolism for Mass Spectroscopy,” and the very first paragraph commences with the definition “Mass Spectroscopy is the study of systems by causing the formation of gaseous ions, with or without fragmentation, which are then characterized by their mass-to-charge ratios and relative abundances” (Pure Appl. Chem. 1991, DOI: 10.1351/pac199163101541). Sparkman argues that scientific peer review would have caught the alleged error, but it would also have caught his misinformation about the term and left it intact. There are many other spectroscopies as well that are not confined to the electromagnetic spectrum. 
Paul J. Karol
Palo Alto, Calif.
"Misinformation"! What's next, pistols at dawn at the next Pittcon?  


  1. I'll stick to arguing about what is and isn't a sandwich

    1. A hamburger isn't a sandwich.

    2. Especially if it has tomato on it. What self-respecting sandwich would have a fruit in it?

  2. Who remembers the Commodore 64 computer? Back then we had "pronouncers". They were not elite hackers, but they knew how to pronounce those words correctly that the elite hackers mispronounced.

  3. I've always used- scopy if it's tied to something else, and don't get a spectrum out, and -metry when I get a spectrum out, either on screen or in print.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20