History of Rotational Spectroscopy

        Rotational Spectroscopy is a field of research concerned with study of high-resolution molecular rotation spectra in the gas phase.  The applications of the technique range from determination of the most precise molecular geometries to searches for manifestations of prebiotic chemistry through studying the molecular composition of circumstellar molecular clouds.  The technique has very often been colloquially called Microwave Spectroscopy as it received a considerable impetus after the Second World War from the development of radar and subsequent general availability of microwave devices.  Rotational Spectroscopy has been characterised by a rather tightly-knit and well organised scientific community.  The unavoidable changes enforced by the passage of time mean that many of the laboratories and people that were crucial to the evolution of the field are no longer active.  Much information on the heroic age of rotational spectroscopy is still available so it seems a good moment to collect it and to make more widely available.  

        The ultimate aim of this website is to carry plentiful material on various aspects of the evolution of the field of rotational spectroscopy with emphasis on the more informal, human related, aspects that are not covered in formal scientific publications. 

        It is expected that the web site will contain sections on:

            1/ Laboratories
            2/ People
            3/ Resources

           that have been influential in the development of this field.  The present page is really a stub providing an entry point to the subpages that have either made it to some stage of completion or are in the process of being set up:


Kiel, Germany
Freiburg, Germany
University College London, UK
Brighton, UK
Poznan, Poland
PEOPLE Gisbert Winnewisser
Walter Gordy
William Klemperer
Harold Kroto
Charles Townes
E. Bright Wilson

Published biographies

RESOURCES Microwave Newsletter
Barbara Starck loose-leaf bibliography

        Contributions to this website are continuously solicited - please read this announcement.  The response from the community has been very encouraging and a considerable amount of collected material is already waiting for processing during the proverbial 'long winter evenings'.

                                              Zbigniew Kisiel,
                                              Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences
         Other websites by the same author: PROSPE, ROTLINKS, our laboratory