Modern instrumentation with its sophisticated computer control has removed much of the monotony of running analytical equipment, but herein lies the danger. The analyst can all too easily rely on the "black box" approach, which often results in poor-quality data.
Both Statistics and Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry and Analytical Instrumentation aim to educate the user by explaining the fundamental operating characteristics of these instruments, experimental design, calibration protocols and the subsequent quality control of their output. Both will assist the analyst in understanding sources of error within the laboratory environment and in the interpretation of results.
James Miller and Jane Miller concentrate in Statistics and Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry on the statistical interpretation of data and experimental design. Aimed primarily at undergraduate and postgraduate students, the text will be useful to all involved in data analysis. Earlier editions have set a benchmark. Improvements include a new chapter on "The quality of analytical measurements", completely revised chapters, worked examples using commonly available software and a simple but useful appendix to help the reader select the most appropriate statistical test for a specific application. It is a welcome replacement for the previous edition, which was one of my most well-used books.
Graham Currell has an ambitious goal in Analytical Instrumentation and has focused on the operation of modern analytical equipment. He tackles it well by means of an open-learning format with the reader invited to assess individual instrument components via self-assessment and discussion questions. This book is useful to those embarking on an analytical career or training programme as it introduces the operational principles of many laboratory instruments.
Currell adopts three main sections. The first concentrates on the need for quality control in the analytical environment and develops a link with statistical analysis, often referring the reader to the earlier edition of Miller and Miller. The second section outlines the performance characteristics and strengths and weaknesses of the major types of instrumentation systems. The final section, one of the book's main strengths, discusses some of the fundamental scientific principles of the instrumentation introduced in earlier chapters, for example, signal processing and detectors. By arranging the book into sections, some topics are included without a full explanation. In recognising this, Currell encourages readers to follow cross-references to other chapters. This book certainly fills a niche on my bookshelf; for those who require an in-depth knowledge of a specific application, however, specialised texts are listed in the bibliographies.
Christopher Ottley is senior experimental officer in geological sciences, University of Durham.
Analytical Instrumentation. First Edition
Author - Graham Currell
ISBN - 0 471 99900 8 and 99901 6
Publisher - Wiley
Price - £60.00 and £29.95
Pages - 307