Spectroscopy

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When final contact was made, they would try to secure samples by drilling or laser spectroscopy; no one really expected these endeavours to succeed, as even after a decade of study TMA-1 resisted all attempts to analyse its material. The best efforts of human scientists in this direction seemed comparable to those of Stone Age men trying to break through the armour of a bank vault with flint axes. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and radiated energy.

Quotes[edit]

  • Plans for the final assault on Big Brother had already been worked out and agreed upon with Mission Control. Leonov would move in slowly, probing at all frequencies, and with steadily increasing power — constantly reporting back to Earth at every moment. When final contact was made, they would try to secure samples by drilling or laser spectroscopy; no one really expected these endeavours to succeed, as even after a decade of study TMA-1 resisted all attempts to analyse its material. The best efforts of human scientists in this direction seemed comparable to those of Stone Age men trying to break through the armour of a bank vault with flint axes.
...and so recent are our best contrivances, that use has not dulled our joy and pride in them; and we pity our fathers for dying before steam and galvanism, sulphuric ether and ocean telegraphs, photograph and spectroscope arrived, as cheated out of half their human estate. - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
An attempt to study the evolution of living organisms without reference to cytology would be as futile as an account of stellar evolution which ignored spectroscopy.
  • Spectroscopy is a powerful tool for studying biological systems. It often provides a convenient method for analysis of individual components in a biological system such as proteins, nucleic acids, and metabolites. It can also provide detailed information about the structure and mechanism of action of molecules.
    • Gordon G. Hammes, in Spectroscopy for the Biological Sciences (2005), Ch. 1 : Fundamentals of Spectroscopy, p. 1
  • Spectroscopy is basically an experimental subject and is concerned with the absorption, emission or scattering of electromagnetic radiation by atoms or molecules. … electromagnetic radiation covers a wide wavelength range, from radio waves to γ-rays, and the atoms or molecules may be in the gas, liquid or solid phase or, of great importance in surface chemistry, adsorbed on a solid surface. … Experimental methods of spectroscopy began in the more accessible visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum where the eye could be used as the detector.
    • J. Michael Hollas, in Modern Spectroscopy (2004), Ch. 1 : Some Important Results in Quantum Mechanics
Photo taken in France during the 1999 eclipse - The identification of chemical atoms in stellar atmospheres is, in fact, is accomplished thousands of times a year in numerous observations... -Michio Kaku
  • The identification of chemical atoms in stellar atmospheres is, in fact, is accomplished thousands of times a year in numerous observations. It is interesting to recall that such an achievement was considered for ever outside the boundary of human activates. A hundred years ago, Auguste Comte, … a great French philosopher, said that “we shall never be able to study the chemical composition of The celestial bodies”. His was an encyclopedic mind but it did not encompass the potentialities of the spectroscope.
  • I learned about X-ray diffraction, neutron scattering, raman scattering, infrared absorption spectroscopy, heat capacity, transport, time-dependent transport, magnetic resonance, electron diffraction, electron energy loss spectroscopy — all the experimental techniques that constitute the eyes and ears of modern solid state physics. As this occurred I slowly became disillusioned with the reductionist ideal of physics, for it was completely clear that the outcome of these experiments was almost always impossible to predict from first principles, yet was right and meaningful and certainly regulated by the same microscopic laws that work in atoms. Only many years later did I finally understand that this truth, which seems so natural to solid state physicists because they confront experiments so frequently, is actually quite alien to other branches of physics and is vigorously repudiated by many scientists on the grounds that things not amenable to reductionist thinking are not physics.
The whole subject of the X rays is opening out wonderfully, Bragg has of course got in ahead of us, and so the credit all belongs to him, but that does not make it less interesting.... -Henry Moseley.

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