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Court Sandau

Court Sandau

Email: csandau@chemistry-matters.com

Court is the President and owner of Chemistry Matters – a niche environmental consulting firm which specializes in geoforensics, environmental forensics, biomonitoring, and arson investigations. As an international speaker and expert chemist, Court is often called upon to provide his expert services in oil & gas investigations and litigious chemistry issues.
Full Biography

Dealing with Varying Results in PAH Quantification

There is an old adage, often referred to as Segal’s Law, that states: “A man with one watch knows what time it is, a man with two is never sure”. I use this a lot for my work when I am presenting. I am often given data where samples get sent to two different laboratories for the same analyses. It is usually done to...

Make sure your investigation has legal chain of custody

It is arson awareness and here is our third blog for arson investigators. One of the most important parts of a successful arson investigation and potential conviction (other than having video or photographic evidence of the arsonist) is the collection of samples and identifying the presence of an ignitable liquid...

BY Court Sandau arson

Don’t let matrix get in your way

We recently discussed the issue of matrix and how the other stuff in your fire debris sample can be problematic for the laboratory in identifying ignitable liquid residue in your evidence samples.

BY Court Sandau arson

Matrix is your enemy – in fire debris collection for arson investigations

This week is arson awareness week.  I have been working on arson investigations and the collection and analysis of fire debris samples for over 10 years. I was brought into the field of work by happenstance, and it has been an amazing experience applying legal and environmental forensic chemistry to the field of...

BY Court Sandau arson

Building trust in statistical models for environmental data

Models and modelling, I was never a big fan.  I always thought that you could make models say whatever you want them to say.  But, many years later, I have changed my tune, particularly for statistical models.  Used right, models can provide convincing lines of evidence that you have the correct answer to your ...

BY Court Sandau Data Science, machine learning

Knowing vs. Knowledge

GI Joe was wrong!  Knowing is not  half the battle (in environmental work)!  It is barely a tenth of the battle, at best.  There is a lot of confusion in the environmental industry, maybe even misrepresentation of what a company or person is capable of doing and what they are actually qualified to do.  Especially...

Want to find errors in your data? Start analyzing it.

It may be counter intuitive to start statistical analysis on a dataset that hasn’t been fully vetted, but that is exactly what can be done for environmental contaminant datasets. If you can QA-QC them, great. If not, dive right in and start analyzing them.

Three reasons why GCxGC should be used for arson investigations

 

 

 

This month, our team at Chemistry Matters Inc. were able to share some of our knowledge through a peer reviewed publication that was published in a scientific journal called Forensics International.  The paper describes the use of comprehensive two-dimensional chromatography (GCxGC) for fire debris...

MDC Workshop 2020 Summary

Well, that's a wrap. The 11th multidimensional chromatography workshop held at Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii is over. Another year, another MDCW in the books. The conference was niche and almost all the talks focused on two dimensional gas chromatography.

PITTCON 2019 Conference Summary

What happens when 14,000 people gather in one place, most of which are chemists? PITTCON happens. I am sure the city of Philadelphia cringed when they heard that that many nerds were gathering in one place and if they did not realize it before, they certainly do now. With jokes about Heisenberg or that alcohol is...

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