What Do Analytical Chemists Do?

How do we understand the physical structure of matter and the bonds that hold molecules together? We learn about these things through the application of a field of science called analytical chemistry. Analytical chemistry has many applications that are relevant to our daily lives. Analytical chemists keep up with the latest innovations in their fields by attending analytical chemistry conferences.

Analytical Chemistry Industry By Industry

Analytical chemists work in many different fields.

  • Agriculture: Agricultural chemists help develop new fertilizers and pesticides that aim to increase crop production in a sustainable manner.
  • Food processing: Food chemists study ways to combine familiar ingredients in healthier ways. They also look for wholesome replacements for the fats and sugars that people love to eat but that aren’t always good for people.
  • Biotechnology: The development of new vaccines and pharmaceuticals that help people manage chronic health conditions owes a lot to analytical chemists. It often takes many years of collaboration between chemists and teams of scientists representing many different medical disciplines to bring a new wonder drug to market.
  • Oil and petroleum: Chemists participate in the exploration of new sources of oil as well as in the development of more efficient and less environmentally destructive methods of refining oil.
  • Self-care: Beauty products depend upon the way that ingredients react with one another to create an appealing soap, perfume or cosmetic. Not only must these products be effective, they must also be free from bacterial contamination and safe for use. This is a demonstration of applied analytical chemistry at its most basic level.
  • Water purification: Analytical chemists who work at water filtration plants are called hydrologists. Hydrologists are charged with making sure that reservoir sources such as groundwater, streams, lakes and other bodies of water are free from toxic chemicals.

How to Become an Analytical Chemist

Does analytical chemistry sound like an occupation that would appeal to you? In order to qualify for entry-level position, you will need to have majored in chemistry, biology, physics or a related field as a college undergraduate. Most analytical chemists, however, hold advanced degrees in their fields of specialty.