The first mass spectrum of a molecule was measured by J.J. Thomson in 1910. Mass spectrometry (MS) soon became crucial to the study of isotopes and atomic weights and to the development of atomic weapons for World War II. Its notable applications to molecules began with the quantitative analysis of light hydrocarbons during World War II. When I joined the Dow Chemical Company in 1950, MS was not favored by organic chemists. This situation improved only with an increased understanding of gaseous ion chemistry, which was obtained through the use of extensive reference data. Gas chromatography–MS was developed in 1956, and tandem MS was first used a decade later. In neutralization-reionization MS, an unusual, unstable species is prepared by ion-beam neutralization and characterized by reionization. Electrospray ionization of a protein mixture produces its corresponding ionized molecules. In top-down proteomics, ions from an individual component can be mass separated and subjected to collision-activated and electron-capture dissociation to provide extensive sequence information.


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