Forensic Microscopy: Problem Solving through Microanalysis

This Friday, September 16th 2022, the Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society (M3S) holds its Fall meeting- “We are all Forensic Scientists.” Microtrace Vice President Christopher Palenik will present the the first talk at this conference, entitled, “Forensic Microscopy: Problem Solving through Microanalysis.” Dr. Palenik will discuss the strengths of forensic microscopy and the problematic nature of standardization applied to these disciplines.


The word “Forensic” has become a prefix that has been applied to every imaginable discipline. Analogously, microscopy has become a foundation to which nearly every imaginable analytical tool has been attached. Based solely upon the breadth of these two terms, their coupling would seem to be inevitable. The result, forensic microscopy, is a pairing with a purview that is broad enough to draw from any scientific discipline and any conceivable microanalytical tool. Thus, one of its strengths is the ability to scientifically address a vast array of questions spanning any industries or material. Through case examples, this talk will illustrate the elegant scientific solutions that the breadth of forensic microscopy may afford on topics of criminal activity, civil litigation, intellectual property, industrial contamination, and even art and antiquities. Conversely, this talk will also illustrate ways in which attempts to standardize and segregate the field into silos of specialty can backfire to destroy the very benefits that give this discipline its problem solving prowess.

Midwest Microscopy and Microanalysis Society

The objectives of MMMS are to advance scientific research and discovery through the use of microscopy and microanalysis, to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of scientific problems and to interpret them for the common welfare.

MMMS is a local affiliate of the Microscopy Society of America and the Microanalysis Society.

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