Analytical chemists examine the composition, structure and characteristics of a variety of materials by examining and identifying the various elements or compounds that make up the substances, as well as the processes and changes that they undergo. They are absolutely crucial to the pharmaceutical industry because pharmaceutical companies need to know the identity of compounds that they hope to turn into drugs. They study the relationships and interactions between the parts of compounds.
Analytical chemists analyse samples using a range of modern techniques including electro-chromatography, high performance liquid chromatography and spectroscopy. They are employed by a variety of public and private sector organisations, and can specialise in areas such as toxicology, pharmaceuticals, quality control or forensics with
An analytical chemist also aims to develop new methods of analysis. As well as investigating which substances are present, they establish their quantities; they conduct experiments in a laboratory and write reports on their findings. Analytical chemists work closely with a team of chemists who are all specialists in their own fields.
Quality control will continue to be an important issue in chemical manufacturing and other industries that use chemicals in their manufacturing processes. Chemists will also be needed to develop and improve the technologies and processes used to produce chemicals for all purposes and to identify the presence and concentration of chemical pollutants in air, water and soil.
Environmental research will offer many new opportunities for chemists and materials scientists. To satisfy public concerns and to comply with government regulations, the chemical industry will continue to invest a large amount of money each year in technology which reduces pollution and cleans up existing waste sites.
Typical responsibilities include:
Chemists are also needed to find ways to reduce the use of energy and to discover new sources of energy.
Schooling & School Subjects
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended subjects: Life Sciences
Degree: BSc degree with Chemistry: most universities.
Diploma: NMMU, WSU, CPUT, DUT, TUT, VUT, UJ.
In addition to the required courses in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, undergraduate chemistry majors usually study biological sciences, mathematics and physics. Computer courses are essential, because employers prefer job applicants who are able to apply computer skills to simulation tasks and operate computerised laboratory equipment. Courses in statistics are also useful.
BSc (Hons) in Chemistry - most universities.
BSc (Hons) in Applied Chemistry
A masters degree or doctorate is needed for higher positions in lecturing, research, and administration - NMMU, UNISA.
A person with a BSc (Hons) degree in Chemistry may register as a corporate member and professional chemist at the SA Chemical Institute.
Meiring Naudé Road
Tel: (012) 841-2911
South African Chemical Institute
School of Chemistry - University of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag X3
Tel: (011) 717-6705
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