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An analytical chemist becomes his own worst enemy when he subconsciously forgets his objectivity by not taking into account the limitations of his tools. This can show up in weighing in gravimetric analysis, in reading the burette in volumetric analysis, and by taking samples that are too small. This can also appear in atomic absorption analysis when he forgets the limitations of the atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Statistics is a tool which can also be misused. Its use will not convert bad data to good data nor decide if the outlier is the only correct answer or a wrong answer. Misuse can lead to an unsound method, as in the determination of iron in uranium. By forgetting his pride, the analytical chemist can find a statistician of key help in finding the pertinent variables to control in converting a research method into a control method as in the determination of antimony in steel.
analysis/composition, chemistry, enemy, gravimetry, volume, absorption, statistics
visiting professor, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.