Oh The Offense
The American Society for Mass Spectrometry and particularly the Committee on Measurements and Standards, should be applauded fortheir hard work on their revision of the document "Standard Definitions of Terms Relating to Mass Spectrometry" (J. Am. Soc. Mass Specirom. 1991, 2, 336-348). To have such a compilation of terminology is vital for us to communicate our ideas and results accurately and precisely. Indeed, this document has the potential to be the international standard for mass spectrometric terminology Thus, I am surprised that the archaic gender-specific terms "daughter," "granddaughter," and "great-granddaughter," and the anthropomorphic "parent ion" and"progeny fragment ions," are supported in this compilation.[...] When I first started publishing in mass spectrometry, I inanely used the expression "daughter ion." My mentor, who is now the Editor of this exceptional journal, urged me to stop using anthropomorphic terms to describe nonliving things. I consequently became sensitized to the term "daughter ion," and it became offensive to me. I know that there are many in our Society to whom this terminology is offensive. A very wise and sensitive scientist, who is also an Editor of one of our illustrious mass spectrometry journals, recently said, "Whoever continues to use a term after learning that it is offensive is rude. Use product ion." (Maurice Bursey, Mass Spectrom. Rev., 1991, 10, 1-2.)And who thinks about the rights of the molecules, eh? Can you imagine how it could feel to be fragmented and ionized by a beam of electrons, then hurled through an intense electrical field, pulled and pushed by modulated magnetic fields and finally slam into a detector?
Can't you feel the oppression?