Raymond March was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. March’s childhood was shaped by World War II, and by a mysterious polio-like paralysis which caused him to miss a great deal of school. He took an apprenticeship with PAMETRADA (Parsons and Marine Engineering Turbine Research and Development Association) Research Station before gaining admittance to University of Leeds. There he majored in chemistry and was in the University Air Squadron. He accepted a scholarship to the University of Toronto, where he worked on flash photolysis with John Polanyi.
March developed a needle loop technique at Johnson & Johnson, then took a postdoc position in at McGill University, where he worked on methyl metals and microwave discharges; on atmospheric chemistry; and on aluminum trimethyl and impact work for Gerald Bull, who built the supergun. He took an assistant professorship at the brand-new Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. On a sabbatical in France, March learned mass spectrometry and ion traps from Jean Durup and has continued to specialize in quadrupole mass spectrometers and to refine ion traps. Becoming interested in flavonoids, March established the Trent University Water Quality Centre and added an interest in antibiotics. March discusses his contributions to the establishment of Trent University; his role on the editorial board of the International Journal of Mass Spectrometry; his many friends and colleagues; his trips to Europe; funding; and his patents. He concludes with an encomium of the quadrupole ion trap mass spectrometer on the Rosetta mission to characterize a comet.
Raymond E. March, interviewed by Michael A. Grayson in Peterborough, Ontario on October 27, 2014. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0921. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/qb98mg60w.
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