This perspective is a very personal account of the history and evolution of experimental trace element partitioning, although I cannot hope to exhaustively cover all aspects of this discipline. Therefore, I emphasise issues with which I am most familiar: (i) partitioning between mafic silicates and silicate melt; (ii) solid metal-liquid metal partitioning – especially the effects of non-metals; and (iii) metal-silicate liquid partitioning. I first entered the field of experimental partitioning as a grad-student in the mid-1970’s and so was able to see some of the growing pains of this discipline up close and personal. Also where appropriate, I will mention applications of experimental partitioning data to geologic and planetary problems.

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