University Hosts Inaugural Spectroscopy Symposium


On a normal day on campus the word “alma” would refer to the Alma Mater, however, the word took on a completely different meaning at the International Symposium for Molecular Spectroscopy, or ISMS.

At the ISMS, “ALMA” refers to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, a $1.4 Billion dollar massive radio telescope in Chile that is currently analyzing the way that stars and the early universe were formed.

This is just one of the many advancements that was being discussed at the ISMS, which took place last week throughout several University buildings.

Spectroscopy is the science of using energy waves and lasers to analyze matter. The symposium brought “together scientists from around the world with common interests in molecular spectroscopy,” said Professor Ben McCall, the chair of the ISMS committee.

Normally, the ISMS is hosted at the Ohio State University, but this is the first year that the University hosted the event which is now in its 69th year.

The University is notable for work in Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, which is one of the reasons why it took place at the University this year, McCall said.

“We have strengths in a number of areas in molecular spectroscopy,” he said. “We have a long history of other types of spectroscopy like microwave spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy and a strong set of faculty across all these different departments.”

This is the largest meeting in the field of spectroscopy hosting 530 delegates from 30 different countries gathered to talk about everything from biological uses of spectroscopy in identifying proteins to the very astrophysical reactions that formed the Universe.

“Very high sensitivity laser spectroscopy can be used to sense disease in human breathe” McCall said.

Douglas Friedel, researcher at the University, said that collaboration, exchange of ideas, new approaches to the science are some of the biggest benefits of the symposium.