O. David Sparkman (C&EN, Aug. 27, page 3) is correct that there is “no such thing” as the term “mass spectroscopy.” Paul J. Karol (C&EN, Oct. 1, page 2) is correct to refer to the International Union of Pure & Applied Chemistry but unfortunately referenced the 1991 recommendations in Pure & Applied Chemistry (DOI: 10.1351/pac199163101541). This older document has been superseded by 2013 recommendations (Pure Appl. Chem., DOI: 10.1351/pac-rec-06-04-06), which state on page 1565, “Mass spectroscopy is an obsolete synonym for mass spectrometry that should not be used to avoid confusion with spectroscopies in which the measured quantity is absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation.”
Unfortunately, the usually reliable IUPAC Gold Book (goldbook.iupac.org) has not been updated with the most recent recommendations and still refers to the obsolete 1991 entry for mass “spectroscopy.” Hopefully this valuable resource will be updated soon.
Charles LucyNever argue semantics with an analytical chemist, it seems.