• Thomas Catalano
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Pharmaceutical Science & Drug Development book series (BRIEFSPSDD)


Any endeavor which reaches its pinnacle is considered an art. The genius required to produce a musical symphony is not fundamentally different than that needed to develop and introduce a new fundamental concept of nature, such as Einstein’s Space and Time Relativity. Both require going beyond normal rational thinking and having courage to bring that thinking forward. Science advancement is based on small increments of gained knowledge, which is then extrapolated towards a much larger concept, which may not be totally explainable by the current data. Forensic analysis lies between the boundaries of art and science, in that it often requires an intuitive approach since facts are often in short supply and analytical data is not ideal. However, since we are aware of these limitations, the introduction of rigorous guidances and guidelines can help control our natural tendencies to fill in the gaps. Our goal is to maintain scientific objectivity, however regardless whether we are evaluating fingerprints or chemical spectra the results are not free from human subjectivity. And that’s the way it should be. No replicate analysis, even from the same sample, is expected to be identical; it is up to the knowledge and experience of the analyst to determine whether the differences are significant enough to determine that the analysis indicates a difference or no difference. However, there are branches of science such as, statistics and probability that can aid the analyst in evaluating the variability, confidence, and uncertainty associated with analysis method. Data obtained within method variance, confidence limits, and uncertainty value, although different, will be considered indistinguishable. Although the analyst has the final responsibility for the results, disregarding the methods variance, confidence limits, and uncertainty value will require a detailed justification which would be acceptable to his/her peers.


Musical Symphony Spectrum Chemicals Uncertainty Values Larger Concept Detailed Justification 
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Copyright information

© Thomas Catalano 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Catalano
    • 1
  1. 1.PharmChem Analytical Consultants, LLCBuffalo GroveUSA

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