What you will study
Analytical science, in its many guises, is the foundation for many ‘real world’ applications of science which help to maintain or improve the quality of people’s lives. This module uses case studies from medicine, science and the arts to illustrate the importance and impact that analytical science has on a global society. This module comprises two books, two online chapters and interactive online resources including a techniques compendium containing details of the major concepts and techniques used throughout the module.
Book 1 Analytical science for health and wellbeing . This book consists of five chapters in which you will learn about the role of analysis in the human lifecycle from preconception to the end of life.
Chapter 1 introduces the main concepts and terminology used in analytical science; describes hospital and food-testing laboratories; looks at over the counter test kits for screening and diagnosis; and discusses the importance of health and safety, and ethics.
Chapter 2 describes the analyses used from preconception to birth. It covers ovulation prediction; the sperm count; pregnancy testing kits; Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); ultra-sound; and screening for, and diagnosis of, Down’s syndrome using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and fluorescence microscopy.
Chapter 3 explores food safety and nutrition. Nutritional labelling is discussed with a focus on protein, salt and energy content. Through these, the principles of spectroscopy, electrochemistry and calorimetry are described. Methods of detecting both chemical and microbiological contamination are also studied.
Chapter 4 is about drug analysis. The detection of performance-enhancing drugs through chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques is covered, as well as testing for recreational drugs such as alcohol and ecstasy. The chapter concludes with the identification of counterfeit pharmaceuticals using infrared spectroscopy.
Chapter 5 covers infectious diseases and adulthood. The varied techniques used to diagnose sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, cancer and diabetes are explained. Finally we discuss how death is confirmed.
Chapter 6 summarises the techniques covered in the earlier five chapters.
Book 2 Analytical science to enrich our lives . This book consists of four chapters in which you will learn about the analytical techniques applied to research and investigation in the space, heritage and archaeology, and environment sectors. It looks at how our global society is protected by our analytical capabilities.
Chapter 1 introduces the use of analysis as an investigative research tool in contrast to the regulative-based approach in Book 1. It covers analytical working practices, data handling, intellectual property, ethical practices and communication.
Chapter 2 covers the use of analysis in understanding our place in the Universe. It illustrates the ability to undertake analysis remote to the laboratory, such as using telescope-based spectroscopy to detect molecules in interstellar space. It describes how extraterrestrial samples are handled and analysed using microscopy and how objects and processes in our Solar System are dated.
Chapter 3 describes how analysis is used to enhance our cultural society. Ötzi the iceman and the warship, the Mary Rose, demonstrate the sampling and analysis of artefacts through carbon dating, isotope ratio mass spectrometry, and analysis of ancient DNA. Techniques in art analysis and conservation including Raman spectroscopy and XRD are introduced.
Chapter 4 explores the use of analysis to investigate and maintain our environment. The analysis of soils, water and air introduce nutrient and microbial testing, X-ray fluorescence (XRF), and atomic absorption spectroscopy.
Case study – this online chapter draws together aspects of Books 1 and 2 through a case-study approach. By applying various analyses to solve a particular problem you will see how technique selection, sampling, the use of standards and data-reduction techniques work together to form the most effective analytical strategy.
Our analytical future – this online chapter is dynamic and interactive; it will consist of a collection of structured resources such as, audio-visual files, newspaper articles and regularly updated text. The resources illustrate novel techniques and applications in analytical science, such as UV sensors to protect against skin damage, the use of mobile phone technologies for health monitoring in the home, and the potential application of landmine-detection techniques to food quality assurance. This chapter will be regularly updated.
You will learn
Throughout this module you will learn about the analytical process: defining the problem; selecting the appropriate technique; carrying out the analysis; interpreting the data; and communicating the results. Some common analytical themes that run throughout the module include standardisation, calibration and the use of controls.
While studying a variety of stimulating topics, this module will develop your problem-solving abilities, mathematical and communication skills, and use of computers for learning and communication. All these skills are likely to be useful in a work context, particularly for jobs requiring a precise and quantitative approach such as those involving work in a laboratory environment.