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A respected leader in the development of procedures for validating analytical methods, William Horwitz passed away at the age of 88 on September 27, 2006. Horwitz was regarded by his colleagues as "truly synonymous with excellence in analytical chemistry."
Horwitz received his BS from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) and went on to earn a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Minnesota (St. Paul, USA) in 1947. He then began his 61 years of service at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), starting out as a chemist and rising to the position of Chief Chemist before he transferred to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, where he stayed until retirement in 2000.
During his tenure at the FDA, Horwitz authored over 160 papers on various aspects of analytical chemistry and received many awards for his service to the FDA and devotion to the analytical sciences, including the Superior and Distinguished Service Awards of the FDA. After his retirement, Horwitz remained an advisor to the FDA.
Horwitz was widely known for his work in developing procedures to validate analytical methods, in particular for the development of the theory and applications of the "Horwitz Horn," the "Horwitz equation," and the "Horwitz ratio." Because of his work, for the first time, one could predict the relative standard deviation to be expected between laboratories (RSDR) based solely on the concentration of the analyte. A comparison of the predicted value with that determined from the results of an interlaboratory collaborative study allowed one to judge how "good" an analytical method was.
In honor of this work, AOAC International established the "Horwitz Award" in 1995, of which he was the first recipient. This work also earned him the prestigious Robert Boyle Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2001.
Horwitz is also known for his active membership in AOAC International, where he served as its Executive Director for 28 years and edited the AOAC International Official Methods of analysis through seven editions. He was also selected as U.S. delegate to the Codex Committee on Methods and Analysis and Sampling for numerous sessions; served as Chairman of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO/TC34 on Agricultural Food Products; served as the U.S. National Representative to the Analytical Chemistry Division (V.I) of IUPAC; and served for over 40 years as an abstractor and section editor for "foods" for Chemical Abstracts.
Horwitz's contributions to the scientific community are innumerable, and he will be remembered by future generations of researchers for his dedication to his field.