Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Biophysics

pp 2734-2736

Vibrational Spectroscopy, A Short History of

  • Henry MantschAffiliated withInstitute for Biodiagnostics, National Research Council of Canada Email author 


History of infrared spectroscopy; History of Raman spectroscopy


This entry gives a personal account of the recent history of vibrational spectroscopy of biological molecules.

Why should one actually bother writing about the history of any scientific subject when new discoveries and developments are taking place at a breathtaking rate? It is because the history behind many scientific endeavors can provide the context for future discoveries, emphasizing the fact that as a product of human activity, learning is a cumulative process. Indeed, learning more about the circumstances of how, when, and where these scientific discoveries were made helps us to be aware of the motivations that guided and drove the evolution of that subject matter. And yet not all discoveries are demand-driven as scientists wandering along the path of curiosity sometimes stumble across new findings simply by accident or serendipity; of course, these findings must then be recognized ...

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