Despite being one of the smallest groups belonging to the RSC’s Analytical Division, the MicroAnalytical Group is the oldest.
It had its beginnings in the inter-war years when a group of enthusiastic analysts met two or three times a year to discuss their fascination for their subjects and to try and address what they could see as the ever increasing need for small-scale analysis. These were the founder members of the Microchemical Club. It was unfortunate that the club was disbanded at the outbreak of war in 1939, but in 1943 Prof. (then Mr) R Belcher wrote to Chemistry and Industry suggesting the need for the formation of a microchemical society. Eventually in 1944 after lengthy negotiations, the Microchemistry Group was born.
The Group has undergone a number of name changes; in 1972 it was changed to the Microchemical Methods Group, in 1986 to the Micro and Chemical Methods Group, and in 2001 to its current name of MicroAnalytical Group. Although subtle in their differences, these name changes reflect the Group’s ability to adapt to the constant shifts in state of the art science and technological progress. The current name was chosen to represent better the nature of the Group and has been ratified by AD Council. It was more meaningful and the best possible description, at the present time, to cover our broad remit without additional elaboration.
As with all cutting edge scientific groups there have been high and low points. Through the 1970s and 1980s five or six meetings a year were held with some of them being two day conferences attracting delegates from all over the UK, and indeed a number from overseas too. It was therefore disappointing for the group to have found that subject interest had declined, and indeed in 1996 the annual forum was cancelled due to a lack of interest.
The Group saw a need for a shift in emphasis and a benefit in appealing to a wider range of scientists. This culminated in new members for the committee being sought and, in 2001, the name change. It is an interesting point that other, much larger groups, have also struggled for support through the 1990s, but perhaps the MicroAnalytical Group is fortunate in that it is still small enough to be able to mould and adapt to current interests willingly and quickly.