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PIE # - 83 - "Analyze this"

(26.10.2013) Richard Kondrat

 

Is my food and water free from pesticides or pollutants? Is an e-cigarette safer to smoke than a regular one? Did A-Rod really use PED’s? Where’s that foul smell coming from? Who spilled gasoline into the sewage system? To answer such questions requires someone to “Analyze This”.

Wikipedia shows an ever-changing list of about 220 – 250 tools that can be used for this purpose. No doubt Sherlock Holmes would be impressed with such an array of possibilities. They allow modern man to analyze more things, at faster speeds, lower cost, and with better accuracy and precision than anything Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could have imagined. Clearly it is impossible to talk about all these analytical tools in one hour. Instead we will concentrate on how one of the most widely used tools actually performs “analyze this”. The presentation will be such that the non-scientist can understand. A major part of the evening’s event will involve transporting you virtually into Room 227 of the Chemical Sciences building at UC Riverside. From the comfort of your chairs, you will see an analysis take place using one of the instruments in that lab. Not only will you learn how it works, but how others might misinterpret and manipulate results. You will hopefully leave with a better understanding of what it takes to “analyze this” in the general sense for all other analytical tools. h

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