Kevin M. Downard
Many readers may know that early in his career Sir Geoffrey Taylor, namesake of the Taylor cone so critical to electrospray ionization and ionic thrusters, worked in the laboratory of J.J. Thomson, the recognized inventor of mass spectrometry. Lesser known is that Taylor was an accomplished meteorologist. The year 1912 was a fateful year for the oceanliner Titanic but it also saw the publication of Thomson's work on cathode rays which eventually led to today's mass spectrometers. In the aftermath of the Titanic sinking, the first ice patrol of the North Atlantic set sail with three scientists on board, one of whom was Taylor serving as meteorologist. In this month's Special Feature Professor Kevin Downard of the University of Sydney offers a glimpse into events of 1912 during which both Taylor and Thomson play important roles in the early development of maritime safety and mass spectrometry.