Surrounded by Spheres: Microspheres and Nanospheres in the World Around Us


Dr. Christopher Palenik will be presenting a talk at the 2015 Inter/Micro Conference in Chicago IL in June 2015 on the topic of “Spheres.”  The talk draws from the universality of spheres in the universe around us, from the astronomical to the microscopical.  How does the nature of this universal shape fit impact our daily lives, from its role as forensic evidence to its effects on our health?  The details of this fascinating shape, whether formed naturally, as a by-product of human activity, or as a highly engineered material, will be presented in a unique light.


Surrounded by Spheres: Microspheres and Nanospheres in the World Around Us
Christopher S. Palenik — Microtrace LLC
We live on a sphere. We play games with spheres. We eat spheres. We breathe spheres. In fact, spheres and spheroids are so prevalent that they can be found at every observable scale, from the immensity of astronomy to the minutia of microscopy. The latter scale, which is the subject of this talk, features a wealth of materials spanning natural sources, by-products of human activities and an increasing number of materials specifically designed to achieve particular properties. These particles are formed from liquids and gasses, include organic and inorganic compounds, and range from relatively simple structures to highly engineered, multi-layered systems. Their presence impacts us on a daily basis through their incorporation into consumer products, by improving the efficiency of industrial processes and even as forensic trace evidence. This talk will illustrate the prevalence and properties of this unique shape through the insights that a microscopical and microanalytical examination can provide.

Link to abstract at McCrone Research Institute.


About Inter/Micro

Since its beginning in 1948, Inter/Micro, the premier International/Microscopy conference, has grown to attract microscopists, both amateur and professional, from all areas of light and electron microscopy. Recognized internationally, this meeting is now held every year in Chicago and continues to be sponsored and hosted by McCrone Research Institute.


The first Microscopy Symposium on Electron and Light Microscopy was developed by Walter C. McCrone (light microscopist in chemistry) and Charles Tufts (electron microscopist in physics) and was held June 10-12, 1948 at the Stevens Hotel, now the Hilton Chicago. These meetings continued to grow with inversely proportional titles including “MICROSCOPY SYMPOSIUM” then “MICRO” and now, thanks to Lucy McCrone who came up with the name: “INTER/MICRO” (only after the RMS reclaimed the “Micro” name for their meetings in the 1960s).

You will be interested to know that the Inter/Micro symposia are believed to be the very first meetings to gather top people in light and electron microscopy together to discuss very small particles including the range of ultrafine particles that are commonly referred to today as “nanoparticles.”

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