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Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry Overview

What is in the air?
How do we find out?

And what does this tell us about the world we live in?

The Answers Are Blowing
in The Wind

Jenny was enjoying her first hike of the year during spring break. She was close to the summit of Mary’s Peak, the highest point in the Oregon Coast Range. Jenny looked forward to the spectacular view and being to be able to see the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Cascade Mountains to the east.  Continue...

What's in the Air?

Even though you can’t see anyone making cookies, you know this by the familiar scent in the air. Tiny traces of molecules that give cookies their odor are floating through the air and detected by your nose. Continue...

GCMS: Introduction

A very powerful and sensitive instrument used to study trace amounts of chemicals in the air is a gas chromatograph (CHROME-ah-TOG-rah) connected to a mass spectrometer (spek-TRO-meh-ter), or GCMS. Continue...

GCMS: How Does it Work?

The GCMS instrument is made up of two parts. The gas chromatography (GC) portion separates the chemical mixture into pulses of pure chemicals and the mass spectrometer (MS) identifies and quantifies the chemicals. Continue...

Scientist Interview With
Dr. Staci Simonich

I remember in the 6th grade I wanted to be a marine biologist. I’m not now, but I’m not too far from that. My parents purchased a microscope and telescope for me. I always wanted a chemistry set that would explode, but they wouldn’t buy it for me. I grew up thinking that if I wanted to be a scientist I could.  Continue...