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.