Skip Palenik

Skip Palenik has had a lifelong fascination with the microscope that started when he received his first instrument at the age of eight. Since then he has devoted himself to increasing his knowledge of analytical microscopy and microchemistry and applying it to the solution of real world problems, especially those of forensic interest. He was fortunate in having worked closely with his mentor, Dr. Walter McCrone, for over thirty years and to have studied forensic microscopy with Dr. Max Frei-Sulzer of Zurich, a disciple of Dr. Edmond Locard of Lyon. Skip has been teaching analytical microscopy to forensic scientists for more than thirty years and has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters on the applications of chemical and forensic microscopy.  He established Microtrace in 1992 to provide a resource for organizations and individuals in need of scientific services involving the analysis of microscopic trace evidence. His special research interests are the identification of single small particles, small amounts of complete unknowns and tracing dust and soil back to their origins.

Honors and Awards

  • 2013 recipient of the “Edmond Locard Award for Excellence in Trace Evidence” presented by the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners.
  • 2012 recipient of the “Ernst Abbe Memorial Award” presented by the New York Microscopical Society.
  • 2010 recipient of the “Chamot Medal” in chemical microscopy by the State Microscopical Society of Illinois.
  • 2009 recipient of the “Paul L. Kirk Award” given by the Criminalistics section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • 2003 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Midwestern Association of Forensic Sciences


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