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I am amazed by how often I hear someone say that mass spectrometry doesn't need chromatography. Each year I attend a number of conferences, and some are predominantly focused on mass spectrometry, whereas others are more focused on chromatography. I have mentioned before that I feel I need a reversible t-shirt that says, "I am a chromatographer" on one side and "I am a mass spectrometrist" on the other. Maybe it needs to be a polo shirt to be more appropriate for conference wear, but having this would allow me to better blend in with the extremists from each side. To the extremist chromatographer, the mass spectrometer is just a fancy detector. To the extremist mass spectrometrist, the chromatograph is simply an inlet. In fact, I have heard one prominent analytical chemist remark, "if it can't be done with mass spectrometry, then it's probably not worth doing!" Much the same could be said regarding chromatography, given its widespread use throughout myriad science and engineering fields.


This article was written by Kevin A. Schug (Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of Texas).