- Monthly Meeting
- Lectures & Symposia
- Faraday Lecture
“Starhopping – Finding Your Way in the Night Sky” and “Our Solar System – What You May Not Know”
Our planetarium program allows participants to observe the sky, planets, various constellations, individual stars and our solar system from any point on the surface of the earth or in space, at any year or time of day and at any rate of elapsing time. We will use these capabilities to explore the night sky and our solar system from different perspectives and show how relatively obtuse astronomy concepts can be made tangible by the innovative use of the planetarium software. Two 20-minute presentations will commence at 5:30 and 5:55. Several chairs will be available inside the planetarium for folks who cannot sit on the floor. Please be prompt since dome entry will not be allowed once the shows commence.
Our portable planetarium was purchased by the Pittsburgh Conference for the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh and the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh to use in our outreach programs.
“The Triple Quadrupole: Innovation, Serendipity and Persistence”
In this presentation I will provide a personal perspective on the conceptualization, development and demonstration of the analytical capabilities of the triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. And in that perspective, I will try to illustrate the roles of innovation, serendipity and persistence that are fundamental to scientific research.
The triple quadrupole mass spectrometer has become the most common mass spectrometer in the world today, with sales of over $1 billion per year. It is the gold standard for quantitative analysis in metabolomics, clinical analysis, drug discovery and development, and environmental analysis. But when I proposed that instrument as the “ultimate computerized analytical instrument” as a new PhD student in Chris Enke’s research group at Michigan State University as in 1975, the NSF reviews were uniformly negative, with experts in the field unanimous that the proposed instrument would never work. Fortunately, ONR funded the proposal, and the instrument did work!
In the 40 years since, mass spectrometry has evolved from a niche research area, largely for fundamental chemistry studies, into a practical, widely available analytical technique. Indeed, one can hardly name a significant advancement in science that was not made possible by the inventions and development of new tools to see something or measure something, and that includes everything from litmus paper to giant telescopes on mountain tops. And common to these inventions and developments have been innovation, serendipity and persistence.
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The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, along with our sister society, the Society for Analytical Chemists, is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering science education in the Western Pennsylvania region.
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