Digital Collections

Oral history interview with Nico M. Nibbering

  • 2013-Jun-07 (First session)
  • 2013-Jun-08 (Second session)

Oral history interview with Nico M. Nibbering

  • 2013-Jun-07 (First session)
  • 2013-Jun-08 (Second session)

Nico M. Nibbering was born in Zaandam, the Netherlands, one of eight children. When school resumed after World War II, Nibbering did well and tested into high school, where he chose the science and mathematics track and where his physics and chemistry teachers influenced him to attend college. He entered the University of Amsterdam and majored in chemistry under Thymen de Boer. Nibbering also obtained his master's and PhD degrees there and became head of the mass spectrometry department. He refined his interest in gas phase ion chemistry during a few months spent in Fred McLafferty's lab at Cornell University and became entranced with a Fourier transform (FT) instrument. Back at home he and James Dawson transformed a drift cell ion machine into an FT spectrometer in just a year. When he considered leaving for Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam established a research institute for him. Nibbering is retired, but his fascination with mass spectrometry continues undiminished. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is still editor of the Wiley-Interscience Series on Mass Spectrometry.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 144 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

Michael A. Grayson is a member of the Mass Spectrometry Research Resource at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his BS degree in physics from St. Louis University in 1963 and his MS in physics from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1965. He is the author of over 45 papers in the scientific literature. Before joining the Research Resource, he was a staff scientist at McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratory. While completing his undergraduate and graduate education, he worked at Monsanto Company in St. Louis, where he learned the art and science of mass spectrometry. Grayson is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), and has served many different positions within that organization. He has served on the Board of Trustees of CHF and is currently a member of CHF's Heritage Council. He currently pursues his interest in the history of mass spectrometry by recording oral histories, assisting in the collection of papers, and researching the early history of the field.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0709

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • May 29, 1938
  • Zaandam, Netherlands
  • August 25, 2014
  • Wilnis, Netherlands


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1960 Universiteit van Amsterdam Kandidaatsexamen Chemistry
1964 Universiteit van Amsterdam Doctoraalexamen Chemistry
1968 Universiteit van Amsterdam PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Universiteit van Amsterdam

  • 1967 to 1975 Permanent staff member in charge of mass spectrometry
  • 1975 to 1988 Associate Professor of Organic Mass Spectrometry
  • 1980 to 1988 Full Professor of Organic Mass Spectrometry
  • 1988 to 2000 Scientific Director of the Institute of Mass Spectrometry
  • 1988 to 2001 Full Professor of Chemical Mass Spectrometry


Year(s) Award
1964 Unilever Chemistry Prize
1968 Shell Research Chemistry Prize
1991 International Mass Spectrometry Thomson Medal
1992 Johannes Marcus Marci Award

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PDF — 2.0 MB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

4 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads