Analytical innovation at Dow Chemical honored as a National Historic Chemical Landmark

08 Jun 2019

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2019 — An innovation at The Dow Chemical Company that laid the groundwork for modern analytical techniques is being honored as the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’) newest National Historic Chemical Landmark. The ceremony recognizing the designation will be held at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on June 8 in Midland, Michigan, where the company was founded in 1897.
“Through this designation, we pay tribute to the vision and ingenuity of the Dow scientists, Fred McLafferty and Roland Gohlke, who first combined gas chromatography (GC) and mass spectrometry (MS) more than 60 years ago,” says ACS President Bonnie Charpentier, Ph.D. “In doing so, they created some of the most ubiquitous, powerful tools in the analytical toolbox.”

By coupling the ability of GC to separate a chemical mixture with the ability of MS to identify its components, the combined technique proved revolutionary. GC-MS is now routinely used for speedy analysis in forensics, environmental monitoring, drug testing of athletes and other applications.
“It isn’t widely known that GC-MS was invented here in Midland,” says Wayde Konze, Ph.D., senior R&D director for analytical sciences at Dow. “That will change with the recognition of the National Historic Chemical Landmark. Dow has a strong tradition of innovations in analytical chemistry and across the entire field of chemistry. That tradition is alive and well today as inventive scientists continue to solve hard problems and push the boundaries of what is possible.”

The Landmark ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 50th Central Regional Meeting of ACS. Both events will be hosted at The H Hotel by ACS’ Midland Section, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The meeting’s theme is “Molecules to Materials.”

ACS established the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program in 1992 to recognize seminal events in the history of chemistry and to increase awareness of the contributions of chemistry to society. Past Landmarks include the discovery and production of penicillin, the invention of synthetic plastics and the works of such notable scientific figures as educator George Washington Carver and environmentalist Rachel Carson. For more information, visit


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