At Microtrace we take a genuine interest in solving problems. Our laboratory was founded with the goal of providing a resource for those seeking answers to difficult problems that can solved by the application of scientific methods of investigation. The solutions we provide are not the result of cook-book methods and flow-charts but are obtained through the accumulation of pertinent scientific facts and data obtained by means of the most appropriate tests, observations and instrumentation, which are then interpreted with respect to the problem itself. To accomplish this, we have, of necessity, adopted the point of view of the research scientist, which is characterized by imagination, ingenuity and curiosity, and balanced by skepticism, common sense and conservatism in interpretation. In contrast, many laboratories approach the same questions with the attitude of a technician, following a set procedure or invariant list of instructions. Experience has demonstrated that the latter approach has little chance of solving difficult problems that require more than just a data point or a ‘yes or no’ test result. Although we have constructed one of the most sophisticated and up-to-date microanalytical laboratories in the world, having analytical instruments is not enough to achieve the goals we have set.
To accomplish our goals and further those of our clients, we are continually striving to improve ourselves and have adopted Pasteur’s maxim that “chance favors the prepared mind.” Our scientific staff is recruited for their love of science and particularly their interest in solving difficult problems that bring their analytical skills and experience into play. Few analytical laboratories in the world have expended the resources that we have to build physical reference collections that help us interpret our analytical results. Since one of the best ways to prepare our minds is by training, our scientists are not only sent to courses to improve their knowledge and skills, but we also invite world-renowned scientific specialists to Microtrace to impart their specialized knowledge. These classes have ranged from two days to a week in length and have covered such topics as concrete petrography, heavy mineral identification, glass technology, wood anatomy and identification, interpretation of quartz grain surface textures and infrared spectroscopy, to mention but a few.
It is our goal to provide our clients with real, accurate answers to their most difficult analytical problems in an objective and rigorously scientific manner. To this end we support these conclusions with the scientific observations, data and facts from which our conclusions were drawn. We believe that with each scientific challenge we meet we become still better prepared to solve the next problem that comes to us. One of the great pleasures of our work is the anticipation of the next interesting problem that we will be asked “to look into.”