Tools & Technology

Mystery of Mass (Spec)

On today’s episode we look at the diverse history of mass spectrometry, starting with a single question: exactly what is it?

Episode 144 | March 30, 2012

Episode 144: Mystery of Mass (Spec) by Distillations Podcast

Mass spectrometry: what is it and how does it work? Many of us have heard of this practice, but even experts have a hard time explaining what it means. First we take a look at these everyday applications, from infant genetic testing to the development of the atomic bomb. Then we reach into our oral history vaults to learn more about the development of mass spec in the words of one of its pioneering scientists.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:33 Introduction
01:12 What is Mass Spec?
04:22 Oral History: Alfred Nier
12:18 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Sarah Hunter-Lascoskie for researching this show.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Music from the Free Music Archive includes Beach Point Pleasant by Ducktails. Thanks also to for some music selections.

Image from the Bendix Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry Collection, CHF Collections.