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With usage of mass spectrometry continually expanding, an increasing number of scientists, technicians, students, and physicians are coming into contact with this valuable technique. Mass spectrometry has many uses, both qualitative and quantitative, from analyzing simple gases to environmental contaminants, pharmaceuticals, and complex biopolymers. The extraordinary versatility can make mass spectrometers daunting to novices. Consequently, new users would benefit greatly from an understanding of the basic concepts as well as the processes that occur in these instruments. Mass Spectrometry for the Novice provides exactly that, with detailed, straightforward descriptions and clear illustrations of principles of operations and techniques. The book begins with an overview that includes essential definitions and then provides information on the components of and the strategies used in the most common instruments. The authors discuss the methodologies available, classes of compounds analyzed, and the types of data that can be generated. A group of representative applications from published articles is summarized, demonstrating the diversity of mass spectrometry. The authors also condense the essentials of the topic into one invaluable chapter that provides a set of concise take-home messages on all aspects of mass spectrometry. The final section provides a collection of resources including books, reviews, and useful websites. Using simple language, new color figures, clever cartoons, and assuming no prior knowledge, this book provides a readily understandable entrée to mass spectrometry. A CD-ROM with selected figures and cartoons is included.