Voltaire (1694-1778) stated, "Therapeutics is the pouring of a drug of which one knows nothing into a patient of whom one knows less." The medical and pharmaceutical sciences have been working diligently to ameliorate both aspects of the problem. The progress made, especially in the period following World War II, has been impressive, if not astounding. However, there are many important riddles still to be solved and much to be learned.
One of the areas of study has concerned itself with the determination of the factors that affect a drug's activity and the reasons for the effects observed. A relationship between physicochemical properties of a chemical compound and its biological activity has been assumed and sought for more than a century. Our definition of what constitutes physical and chemical properties, however, has been constantly expanding as a result of new ideas, discoveries, and instrumentation. Modern instrumentation in particular has helped to change our outlook on drugs.
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