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Mass Spectrometry: Who Invented It?

History of Mass Spec

Much of what we know about the history of mass spectrometry comes from a timeline based on historical events in chemistry. Less well known are the many research pursuits in physics that contributed to the development of this important analytical technique. In this video, Dr. Marc Gonin, founder and CEO of TOFWERK, shares his research and perspectives on chemical and physical research milestones that led to the development of mass spectrometry.

This presentation was originally presented at the 2022 Swiss Group for Mass Spectrometry meeting in Beatenberg, Switzerland.


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Feature Image Credits:
Left: English physicist J J Thomson. GWS – The Great War: The Standard History of the All Europe Conflict (volume four) edited by H. W. Wilson and J. A. Hammerton (Amalgamated Press, London 1915)
Middle: Sketch of a parabola-image spectrograph constructed by Thomson for canal rays in 1897. 100 Years of ion beams: Willy Wien’s canal rays – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed 27 Feb, 2023]
Right: Discovery of neon isotopes. “Positive Ray Parabolas”. Isotopes. London, England: Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd, 1922. Digital file made available by Science History Institute, at

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