What is Analytical Chemistry?Analytical Chemistry seeks ever improved means of measuring the chemical composition of natural and artificial materials. The techniques of this science are used to identify the substances which may be present in a material and to determine the exact amounts of the identified substances. Analytical chemists work to improve the reliability of existing techniques to meet the demands for better chemical measurements which arise constantly in our society. They adapt proven methodologies to new kinds of materials or to answer new questions about their composition. They carry out research to discover completely new principles of measurement and are at the forefront of the utilization of major discoveries such as lasers and microchip devices for practical purposes. They make important contributions to many other fields as diverse as forensic chemistry, archaeology, and space science. As the emblem above points out, analytical chemistry serves the needs of many fields. In medicine, analytical chemistry is the basis for clinical laboratory tests which help physicians diagnose disease and chart progress in recovery. In industry, analytical chemistry provides the means of testing raw materials and for assuring the quality of finished products whose chemical composition is critical. Many household products, fuels, paints, pharmaceuticals, etc. are analyzed by the procedures developed by analytical chemists before being sold to the consumer. Environmental quality is often evaluated by testing for suspected contaminants using the techniques of analytical chemistry. The nutritional value of food is determined by chemical analysis for major components such as protein and carbohydrates and trace components such as vitamins and minerals. Indeed even the calories in a food are often calculated from its chemical analysis. Analytical chemists also make important contributions to fields as diverse as forensic chemistry, archaeology, and space science.
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