History of Mass Spectrometry in Australia and New Zealand

ANZSMS is compiling a history of mass spectrometry in Australia and New Zealand and is seeking contributions from its members and other interested individuals. This will comprise a timeline of significant events and discoveries, together with other recollections and perspectives.

To contribute a timeline event, tribute or recollection please complete and submit the form below. Any comments or corrections to the existing timeline and tributes are welcome as well.

ANZSMS Timeline

Timeline of significant events

1922 Then student Ian Wark (later Head of the Division of Industrial Chemistry, CSIRO) writes to Francis Aston in Cambridge seeking advice on building a mass spectrograph to measure ionisation potentials. Aston promptly replies (‘I think a 12″ coil should be ample for your purpose. 20,000 volts should not strain it seriously even with one pole earthed … Wishing you every success, Sincerely F.W. Aston.’)
1946 Construction of a 60 degree Nier-type mass spectrometer commences in the Physics Department, University of Melbourne, becoming operational in 1947. This and a subsequent all-metal mass spectrometer completed in 1948 (still in operation in 1971) were used as isotope separators for the production of milligram quantities of lithium, oxygen, neon, magnesium and zinc.
1948 Arrival of first commercial mass spectrometer in Australia – a CEC21102 instrument at CSIRO, Melbourne.
1950s Ian Lauder (U. Queensland) and Peter Jeffrey (UWA) construct mass spectrometers for isotope tracer and geological dating experiments.
1953 Jim Morrison constructs world’s first mass spectral digitizer consisting of an analog-to-digital converter.
1957 Mark Ingram-inspired magnetic mass spectrometer built by Jim Morrison and colleagues in Melbourne.
1959 Arrival of commercial Metropolitan Vickers MS-2 instrument at UNSW for use by Jim Green and Jack Garnett.
1960 Jim Shannon CSIRO coal research section receives an Atlas CH4 mass spectrometer.
1960s Jim Shannon promotes use of “fish-hook arrows” for homolytic bond cleavages of ions.
1962 Second Atlas CH4 mass spectrometer installed at Defence Standards Laboratory in Melbourne.
1962 Jim Morrison and Don Swingler construct early quadrupole mass spectrometer at CSIRO, Melbourne.
1966 John Bowie initiates studies of organic anions by negative ion mass spectrometry, initially using a Hitachi RMU 7D mass spectrometer.
1968 Jim Shannon appointed Australian editor of Organic Mass Spectrometry journal.
1968 Thermal ionisation mass spectrometer installed at Waite Institute, now Curtin University of Technology, WA.
Late 1960s Keith Murray acquires Atlas CH4 at CSIRO Food Research section in North Ryde Sydney. Instrument subsequently adapted for GC-MS experiments.
1969 Jim Morrison and John Smith construct the first fast scanning laminated magnet for a magnetic-sector GCMS. (Haertel, G.; Morrison, J.D.; Smith, J.F. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Phys. 5 (1970) 215-222).
1970 A community of Australian scientists who were working and were interested in mass spectrometry established a formal society known as the Australian Society for Mass Spectrometry. The society was initially chaired by Barry Batts.
1970 Bert Halpern constructs quadrupole mass spectrometer for early biomedical mass spectrometry experiments.
1970s First commercial ICRs arrive in Australia – U. Adelaide, ANU, CSIRO in Melbourne.
1971 First meeting of the Australian Society for Mass Spectrometry at Macquarie University (August 23-27). Name changed to Australian & New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry.
1971 Don McGilvery and Jim Morrison develop SIMION program for electrostatic potential and charged particle trajectory calculations.
1974 Jim Morrison and Don McGilvery construct a triple quadrupole for studying the photodissociation of ions. (McGilvery, D.C.; Morrison, J.D. J. Chem. Phys. 67 (1977) 368-369).
1974 John Traeger builds La Trobe University photoionization mass spectrometer. (Traeger, J.C.; McLoughlin, R.G. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Phys. 27 (1978) 319-333).
1976 ETP, manufacturer and developer of electron multipliers, founded in Sydney.
1975 Peter Derrick constructs large-scale (1 metre magnetic radius, 8 tonne magnet) reverse geometry sector mass spectrometer at La Trobe University. (Cullis, P.G.; Neumann, G.M.; Rogers, D.E.; Derrick, P.J. Adv. Mass Spectrom. 8B (1980) 1729-1738)
1978 First use of a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer for analytical tandem mass spectrometry in Melbourne. (Yost, R.A.; Enke, C.G.; McGilvery, D.C.; Smith, D.L.; Morrison, J.D. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Phys. 30 (1979) 127-136).
1979 GCMS analysis of volatile constituents of Australian honeys. (Graddon, A.D.; Morrison, J.D.; Smith, J.F. J. Agric. Food Chem. 27 (1979) 832-837).
1980 Application of computerized GCMS to oil exploration in Australia. (Philp, R.P.; Gilbert, T.D. APEA Journal20 (1980) 221-228).
1982 ETP develops replaceable dynode multipliers.
1983 GCMS analysis of constitutents associated with off-flavors in crustaceans from Australian coastal waters. (Whitfield, F.B.; Freeman, D.J. Water Sci. Tech. 15 (1983) 85-95).
1987 Composition of wax made by the Australian stingless bee Trigona australis. (Milborrow, B.V.; Kennedy, J.M.; Dollin, A. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 40 (1987) 15-25).
1989 GCMS analysis of volatile oils in eucalyptus leaves. (Barton, A.F.M.; Tjandra, J.; Nicholas, P.G. J. Agric. Food Chem. 37 (1989) 1253-1257).
1989 Jim Dawson and Michael Guilhaus propose an orthogonal-acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer as a new way to couple TOF with continuous ion sources. (Dawson, J.H.J.; Guilhaus, M. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 3 (1989) 155-159).
1990 First commercial electrospray mass spectrometer in Australia (Sciex API-III) installed at Bond University.
1991 Early tandem TOF/TOF mass spectrometer built at UNSW. (Jardine, D.R.; Alderdice, D.S.; Derrick, P.J. Org. Mass Spectrom. 26 (1991) 915-916).
1991 ETP develops air-stable “active film” multiplier technology.
1992 Guilhaus and Coles complete construction of first orthogonal-acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer at UNSW. (Coles, J.; Guilhaus, M. Trends Anal. Chem. 12 (1993) 203-213).
1992 Waldron, Dowsett, and Derrick patent hybrid double-focusing magnetic-sector time-of-flight mass spectrometer).
1995 Construction of a pentaquadrupole mass spectrometer capable of performing MS/MS/MS experiments at Monash University. (Thomas, P.D.; Morrison, R,J.S. Proc. ANZSMS15 ThP-07).
1996 Guilhaus and Mlynski complete construction of first MALDI orthogonal-acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer at UNSW. (Mlynski, V.; Guilhaus, M. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 10 (1996) 1524-1530).
1997 Michael Guilhaus receives the Curt Brunnée Award at the 14th International Mass Spectrometry Conference. (Adv. Mass Spectrom. 14 (1997) xxv-xxviii).
1998 Don McGilvery shares ASMS Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry for development and application of SIMION, an algorithm to simulate for electrostatic fields and ion trajectories. (J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 9 (1998) 657).
1998 First record of host defence peptides in tadpoles using mass spectrometry. (Wabnitz, P.A.; Walters, H.; Tyler, M.J.; Wallace, J.C.; Bowie, J.H. J. Peptide Res. 52 (1998) 477-481).
1999 Aquatic sex pheromone detected in a male tree frog by mass spectrometry. (Wabnitz, P.A.; Bowie, J.H.; Tyler, M.J.; Wallace, J.C. Nature 401 (1999) 444-445).
2000 Special honour issue of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry for Jim Morrison (Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 194(2/3) (2000)).
2000 Guilhaus group demonstrates resolution and sensitivity advantages of parallel wire grids and rectangular repeat cell meshes in orthogonal TOF mass analysers for MALDI and commercial ESI instruments. (Selby, D.; Mlynski, V.; Guilhaus, M. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 206 (2001) 201-210. Lewin, M.J.; Guilhaus, M.; Wildgoose, J.; Hoyes, J.; Bateman, R. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 16 (2001) 609-615).
2000 Measurement of proton affinities on a pentaquadrupole mass spectrometer by the kinetic method. (Thomas, P.D.; Morrison, R.J.S. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 194 (2000) 133-143.
2001 AMS radiocarbon dating of early human occupation 50,000 years ago in Southwestern Australia. (Turney, C.S.M.; Bird, M.I.; Fifield, L.K.; Roberts, R.G.; Smith, M.; Dortch, C.E.; Grun, R.; Lawson, E.; Ayliffe, L.K.; Miller, G.H.; Dortch, J.; Cresswell, R.G. Quatern. Res. 55 (2001) 3-13).
2001 Implementation of ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) within the Australian Customs Service for narcotic detection. (Webster, J. Int. J. Ion Mob. Spectrom. 4 (2001) 65-66).
2001 Selby, Mlynski and Guilhaus complete construction of compact MALDI reflecting orthogonal-acceleration time-of-flight mass spectrometer at UNSW. (Selby, D.S.; Mlynski, V.; Guilhaus, M. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 210/211 (2001) 89-100).
2003 Special honour issue of the Australian Journal of Chemistry for John Bowie (Aust. J. Chem.56(5) (2003)).
2006 John H. Bowie receives a Thomson Gold Medal from the International Mass Spectrometry Foundation recognising “his considerable contributions to fundamental organic mass spectrometry, particularly those involving the study of negative ions”.
Tributes and Recollections
Peter Jeffery
University of Western Australia
Stable Isotope Studies in W.A.
Jeffery, P.M. The Australian Physicist (1976) 28-30.
Bert Halpern
University of Wollongong
Berthold Halpern – 1923-1980
Danks, D.; Duffield, A.; Sargeson, A. Historical Records of Australian Science 5 (1983) 73-82.
Jim Morrison
La Trobe University
Jim Morrison – Mass Spectrometrist for All Seasons
McLafferty, F.W. Org. Mass Spectrom. 26 (1991) 181-182.
Personal Reminiscences of Forty Years of Mass Spectrometry in Australia
Morrison, J.D. Org. Mass Spectrom. 26 (1991) 183-194.
Jim Morrison Festschrift
Traeger, J.C. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 194 (2000) vi-vii.
Jim Shannon
Derrick, P.J.; Lacey, M.J.; Macdonald, C.G. Org. Mass Spectrom. 27 (1992) 979-984.
Jim Shannon at Coal Research
Sternhell, S. Org. Mass Spectrom. 27 (1992) 985-986.
Early Shannon Mass Spectrometry
McLafferty, F.W. Org. Mass Spectrom. 27 (1992) 987.
J. S. Shannon – an Appreciation
Maccoll, A. Org. Mass Spectrom. 27 (1992) 989-990.
John de Laeter
Curtin University
The Oldest Rocks: The Western Australian Connection
De Laeter, J.R.; Trendall, A.F. J. Roy. Soc. West. Aust. 85 (2002) 153-160.
John Bowie
University of Adelaide
John Hamilton Bowie: An Appreciation
O’Hair, R.A.J. Aust. J. Chem. 56 (2003) 343-348.
Richard O’Hair
University of Melbourne
The Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry Conference – a Tradition of Over Thirty Years.
O’Hair, R.A.J. Eur. J. Mass Spectrom. 9 (2003) 525-529.
Kevin Downard
University of Sydney
John de Laeter
Curtin University
A History of Mass Spectrometry in Australia
Downard, K.M.; De Laeter, J.R. J. Mass Spectrom. 40 (2005) 1123-1139.
Yoji Hayasaka
Gayle Baldock
Alan Pollnitz
Australian Wine Research Institute
Contributions of Mass Spectrometry in the AWRI to Wine Science
Hayasaka, Y.; Baldock, G.A.; Pollnitz, A.P. Aust. J. Grape Wine Research 11 (2005) 188-204.
Reproduced with permission from the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology.
Kevin Downard
University of Sydney
Cavendish’s Crocodile and Dark Horse: The Lives of Rutherford and Aston in Parallel
Downard, K.M. Mass Spectrom. Rev. 26 (2007) 713-723.

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The Australian and New Zealand Society for Mass Spectrometry (ANZSMS)

c/o Assoc Prof Tara Pukala
School of Physical Sciences
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005
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