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Oral history interview with Marvin Margoshes

  • 2011-Apr-06

Oral history interview with Marvin Margoshes

  • 2011-Apr-06

Marvin Margoshes grew up in New York City, New York, one of three children. His parents had left the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his father from Galicia and his mother from Hungary, and had met as members of a Zionist organization. Margoshes himself was always interested in science, settling on chemistry when he was at Brooklyn Technical High School. After high school Margoshes worked in a chemistry lab at New York Medical School until he enlisted in the US Army. The Army sent him to become an instrument technician in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but he was soon sent on to the Pacific theater, where he fought in the Battle of Leyte and the Battle of Okinawa. For a PhD Margoshes entered Iowa State University, where his advisor, Velmer Fassel, assigned him to run an infrared spectroscopy lab with George Hammond. Margoshes then began work in the analytical chemistry spectrometry group of Bourdon Scribner at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS). At the NBS he worked with cyanogen, inductively coupled plasma with argon, the first laser probe, and he invented a coenzymometer (DetermiTubes). After nearly twenty years at NBS Margoshes went to work at Block Engineering, doing Fourier transform analysis with Tomas Hirschfeld. After just two years he moved to Technicon. Morris Shamos liked Margoshes and recognized his scientific knowledge and ability. He put Margoshes in charge of a program that offered grants for projects with a commercial value.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 130 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 0697

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • May 23, 1925
  • New York City, New York, United States
  • January 12, 2018
  • New York, New York, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1950 Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn BS Chemistry
1953 Iowa State College PhD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

Harvard Medical School

  • 1954 to 1957 Research Fellow and Research Associate, Biophysics Research Laboratory, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital

United States. National Bureau of Standards

  • 1957 to 1969 Spectrochemical Analysis Section, Analytical Chemistry Division

Block Engineering, Inc.

  • 1969 to 1970 Project Manager

Technicon Instrument Corporation

  • 1971 to 1989 Director, Chemical Instrumentation, Corporate Research; Manager, Programs of Grants for Research on Scientific and Industrial Instrumentation

Techtransfer Service, Inc.

  • 1990 to 1993 President


Year(s) Award
1953 First Annual Phi Lambda Upsilon Award for Graduate Research, Iowa State College
1964 Department of Commerce Merit Award
1969 Department of Commerce Merit Award
1971 Outstanding Member Award, Baltimore-Washington Section, Society for Applied Spectroscopy
1976 Society for Applied Spectroscopy Gold Medal 
1998 Distinguished Service Award, Society for Applied Spectroscopy

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PDF — 945 KB

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

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads