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Analytical science

Juan R. González Álvarez
Juan R. González Álvarez
Analytical science is the branch of science concerned with breaking down a system into components and with the identification and quantification of each component.

The term “analysis” derives from the Greek “analusis” meaning “a dissolving”. The process of division of a physical, chemical, biological, geological or other system S can be formalized as
S ⟶ a₁ S₁ + a₂ S₂ + ···
where Sᵢ denotes each component and aᵢ its quantity. Analytical scientists try to answer two basic questions: what do I have and how much of it do I have? The first question is answered by qualitative analysis, while quantitative analysis determines how much is present. Analytical chemistry, which studies the division of a given amount of chemical matter into chemical components, is a traditional example; another excellent example is analytical biology [1].
Robert Boyle prize for analytical science - modified from a photograph by Andy Mabbett
Robert Boyle prize for analytical science - modified from a photograph by Andy Mabbett
Analytical science includes the development of novel techniques, or the novel application of existing techniques, to analyze systems, and underpins many other fields such as process and manufacturing quality control, forensics; environmental, materials, and clinical sciences; chemical biology and biological chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, and many more. Analytical scientists also develop statistical and mathematical methods, along with standards for analytical quality control [2].
Analytical science also contributes to challenges in healthcare technologies where new analytical tools and technologies are widely used, for example, to follow reaction pathways and identify intermediates or structures [3]. Analytical measurements are not merely confined to professional laboratories, because analytical scientists also develop cheap, simple, and portable sensors for use by non-specialists, such as diabetics monitoring their blood sugar levels.
  1. However, as noted in analysis of science, the division of science into physics, chemistry, or biology is not well-defined due to ambiguous boundaries. Therefore, there is no clear distinction between bioanalysis, bioanalytical chemistry, and analytical biology.
  2. Commonly abbreviated as AQC, analytical quality control refers to all those processes and procedures designed to ensure that the results of laboratory analysis are consistent, comparable, accurate and within specified precision limits.
  3. Analytical science - EPSRC 2012 December 5 (access): Engineering and Physical Science Research Council.
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Juan R. González Álvarez
Juan R. González Álvarez @juanrga

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