In the de Vries group, we use state-of-the-art spectroscopy to explore the excited state dynamics of compounds in the gas phase. By coupling Resonant Enhanced Multi Photon Ionization (REMPI) with TOF-mass spectrometry, we are able to wavelength and mass select to distinguish isomers in the instrument. Through this technique and the benefits of cold gas phase spectroscopy, the individual vibronic bands and lifetimes of a specific tautomer can be determined. Our research focuses on two main areas: origin of life and art/archaeology. Concerning the origin of life, we have developed a model which states that the photostability of the nucleobases was one of the key selection processes. By comparing the excited state lifetimes of canonical and alternative nucleobases, we've determine that canonical nucleobases always relax faster at the lowest possible ionization energy than the alternative forms. For molecules of interest to art and archaeology, we have developed the technique of Tip Enhanced Laser Desorption to try to chemical identify the layers present in a cross section of painting. In addition, we partner with multiple archaeologist to preform Organic Residue Analysis for cacao in Mayan pottery and wine in Nubian pottery.