1. Editorial


Just before Christmas, we received a submitted paper from Carolyn Koh of the University of London, describing some work in the methane water clathrate field. Some time ago, I had seen a brief TV programme on the occurrence of this material beneath the sea and the possibility that it was implicated in the Bermuda Triangle. As it turns out, the implication is rubbish. However, Carolyn and I researched the subject from which it is clear that methane clathrate is THE next energy source, likely to replace coal and oil. My own view is that the unfortunate down side of this development is that it will almost certainly damage the environment beyond repair. Our efforts are below as a feature article entitled The methane water clathrate: treasures of the deep or an ecological timebomb? I hope you find it interesting.

Historically, Infrared and other sorts of spectrometer were huge, heavy expensive beasts and then along came the first small instrument – the Perkin Elmer Infracord. Nothing has been the same since. One of the team who developed the Infracord and its successors was Mike Ford, long retired director of research at Perkin Elmer’s UK plant. I have persuaded Mike to write a piece telling us about this revolution in instrumentation. Mike was helped by a wonderful character – Francis Dunston, again a P-E retiree, who has a house and garage full of ancient spectrometers and filing cabinets stuffed with brochures and other memorabilia. I’ve visited Francis and wondered how he had room enough to live; no, not only spectrometers under the bed, they are everywhere – kitchen, passageways, conservatory, the garage(s).

I promised last time to produce Article II of “How does FTIR work?” and I have to apologise. Rather than produce a load of old verbiage I have decided to make Article II a sort of tutorial you can run through on your own FTIR. Fortunately, Fabrice Birembaut has volunteered (?) to give me a hand but this type of thing takes a little time. You will see it next Edition – promise!!

Following Perkin Elmer’s decision to cease sponsorship of the Journal at Easter –to attract new sponsors and advertisers (if we decide to include advertisements) it is essential that the Journal readership be as large as possible. Could you please urge all your friends and associates to register as readers with us? We really do need numbers – and remember it doesn’t cost anything!

List of email addresses – readership

It is clear that the list of email addresses is very attractive to possible sponsors. In the past, Perkin Elmer have had access to the list because they “owned” the Journal and could have used the list to send you information on their products. I don’t think they used it very much. However, future sponsors might well want the list and would want to send you information via email. To be completely fair to you – please tell us if you wish your address to be withheld from a sponsor or advertiser. We will erase it from the list which is used by the sponsor, retaining your name on our subscriber list so we will still email you when we publish a new edition.


When I came to email all of you to advise you of this new edition, I had dreadful problems trying to get my software to run smoothly. Hence many of you received numerous emails notifying you. I do apologise for this. For some reason (unbeknown to me) the software would keep stopping after so many names. As you can imagine I don’t just sit in front of the computer watching 1580 odd emails being sent, so I wasn’t quite sure when the programme stopped running. It’s not my favourite task at the best of times, as this is when I get some many emails bounced back to me if any of you have moved on, but it enables me to “clean” up our list of readers. So please bear with me.