Fred McLafferty

Fred Warren McLafferty is an American chemist known for his work in mass spectrometry. He is best known for the McLafferty rearrangement reaction that was observed with mass spectrometry.[2] With Roland Gohlke, he pioneered the technique of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.[3][4] He is also known for electron capture dissociation, a method of fragmenting gas phase ions.[5]

Fred W. McLafferty
Born (1923-05-11) May 11, 1923
ResidenceUnited States
NationalityUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Nebraska
Cornell University
Known forMass Spectrometry
AwardsACS Award in Chemical Instrumentation (1972 )

Fisher Award (1981)

Member of the National Academy of Sciences (1982 )
ACS Nichols Gold Medal (1984 )
Oesper Award (1985 )
Sir J.J. Thomson Gold Medal (1985 )
Field and Franklin Award (1989)
ASMS Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry Award (2003)
Lavoisier Medal (2004)[1]
Scientific career
InstitutionsPurdue University
Cornell University
Doctoral studentsI. Jonathan Amster
External video
“A Conversation with Fred W. McLafferty”, Cornell University, 2006, 90 minute video

Early life and education

Fred McLafferty was born in Evanston, Illinois in 1923, but attended grade school in Omaha, Nebraska, graduating from Omaha North High School in 1940.[6] The urgent requirements of World War II accelerated his undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska; he obtained his B.S. degree in 1943 and thereafter entered the US armed forces. He served in western Europe during the invasion of Germany and was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, a Purple Heart, Five Bronze Star Medals and a Presidential Unit Citation.[7]

He returned to the University of Nebraska in late 1945 and completed his M.S. degree in 1947. He went on to work under William Miller at Cornell University where he earned his Ph.D. in 1950. He went on to a postdoctoral researcher position at the University of Iowa with R.L. Shriner.[7]

Dow Chemical

He took a position at Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan in 1950 and was in charge of mass spectrometry and gas chromatography from 1950 to 1956. In 1956, he became the Director of Dow’s Eastern Research Lab in Framingham, Massachusetts. During this time, he developed the first GC/MS instruments[4] and developed techniques for determining the structure of organic molecules by mass spectrometry, most notably in the discovery of what is now known as the McLafferty rearrangement.[8]

Academic career

From 1964 to 1968, he was Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University. In 1968, he returned to his alma mater, Cornell University, to become the Peter J. W. Debye Professor of Chemistry. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1982. While at Cornell, McLafferty assembled one of the first comprehensive data bases of mass spectra[9] and pioneered artificial intelligence techniques to interpret GC/MS results.[10] His PBM[11] STIRS program has widespread use to save hours of time consuming work otherwise required to manually analyze GC/MS results.

Honors and awards

See also


  1. "Seven Cornellians receive prestigious national and international honors". Cornell Chronicle. December 3, 2004. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
  2. F. W. McLafferty (1959). "Mass Spectrometric Analysis. Molecular Rearrangements". Analytical Chemistry. 31 (1): 82–87. doi:10.1021/ac60145a015.
  3. Jones, Mark. "Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 19 Nov 2019.
  4. Gohlke, Roland S.; McLafferty, Fred W. (1993). "Early gas chromatography/mass spectrometry". Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. 4 (5): 367–371. doi:10.1016/1044-0305(93)85001-E.
  5. Zubarev, R. A.; Kelleher, N. L.; McLafferty, F. W. (1998). "Electron Capture Dissociation of Multiply Charged Protein Cations - a Nonergodic Process". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 120 (13): 3265–3266. doi:10.1021/ja973478k.
  6. Gross ML (2004). "Focus in honor of Fred McLafferty, 2003 Distinguished Contribution awardee, for the discovery of the "McLafferty Rearrangement"". J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. 15 (7): 951–5. doi:10.1016/j.jasms.2004.05.009. PMID 15234352.
  7. Grayson, Michael A. (23 January 2007). Fred W. McLafferty, Transcript of Interviews Conducted by Michael A. Grayson at Cornell University Ithaca, New York on 22 and 23 January 2007 (PDF). Philadelphia, PA: Chemical Heritage Foundation.
  8. McLafferty, F.W. (1959). "Mass Spectrometric Analysis. Molecular Rearrangements". Anal. Chem. 31 (1): 82–87. doi:10.1021/ac60145a015.
  9. McLafferty, F.W. (2009). Wiley Registry of Mass Spectral Data, 9th Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. pp. 662, 000. ISBN 978-0-470-52035-2.
  10. Tureček, František; McLafferty, Fred W. (1993). Interpretation of mass spectra. Sausalito, Calif: University Science Books. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-935702-25-5.
  11. McLafferty, F. W.; Hertel, R. H.; Villwock, R. D. (1974). "Probability based matching of mass spectra. Rapid identification of specific compounds in mixtures". Organic Mass Spectrometry. 9 (7): 690–702. doi:10.1002/oms.1210090710.
  12. "Chemical Pioneer Award". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  13. "Bijvoet Medal". Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  14. "Nakanishi Prize". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  15. "Analytical innovation at Dow Chemical honored as a National Historic Chemical Landmark". American Chemical Society. Retrieved 2019-06-07.


  • Venkataraghavan, Rengachari; McLafferty, Fred W. (1982). Mass spectral correlations. Columbus, OH: American Chemical Society. ISBN 978-0-8412-0702-8.
  • Heller, Stephen R.; McLafferty, Fred W.; Stauffer, Douglas B.; Stenhagen, Einar (1989). The Wiley/NBS registry of mass spectral data. New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-62886-6.
  • Stauffer, Douglas B.; McLafferty, Fred W. (1991). The important peak index of the registry of mass spectral data. New York: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-55270-3.
  • Tureček, František; McLafferty, Fred W. (1993). Interpretation of mass spectra. Sausalito, Calif: University Science Books. ISBN 978-0-935702-25-5.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.