We, analytical chemists, have reason to think ourselves masters of the universe. After all, where would the world be without the massive amount of data that pervade virtually every aspect of society. From law enforcement to health care, from environment protection to food safety, from prehistoric fossils to planetary observations, all rely on the intricate measurements that have become available since the instrumental revolution transformed the analytical profession in the two decades between 1955 and 1975. However, the analytical chemist is only one of four actors who together have welded the analytical necklace to its current brilliance. During my working days in academia and industry I have performed two roles myself, and closely observed the other two, so I feel free to reflect on all four in the order of their appearance on the stage.
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