Joseph R. Michael

Dr. Joseph R. Michael is a scientist and educator known widely for his numerous contributions to the fields of electron microscopy and microanalysis. The Duncumb Award recognizes outstanding achievement over a sustained period of time in the field of microanalysis through technical accomplishment, leadership, and educational activities, and Joe has distinguished himself in each one of these areas. During his exemplary career as a microanalyst, Joe has led the advance of three significant technical innovations (quantitative analysis in STEM, EBSD, and FIB), he has invested enormous time and effort as a lab demonstrator, lecturer, and course developer at the Lehigh Microscopy Schools, and he has served our community in many roles in the Microanalysis Society.

Beginning as a graduate student in the early 1980s, Joe has been on the vanguard of quantitative elemental analysis of thin samples using analytical electron microscopy (AEM), especially dedicated STEM instruments. While at Lehigh University and later at Bethlehem Steel, Joe demonstrated the power of quantitative X-ray spectrometry using tools such as the VG HB501. His careful analyses had a profound effect on subsequent developments in this field and continue to inspire researchers using these very advanced tools. In the 1990s Joe’s focus shifted to electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis of materials using SEMs and CCD-based backscatter detectors. One of the early leaders in this technology, Joe developed both data acquisition approaches and data analysis methods for EBSD while at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). Beyond these accomplishments in the lab, Joe went on to encourage the technology transfer and commercial development of this technology that has led to its adoption in the broader metallurgical community. By lending his insight to the private sector and promoting the transfer of critical know-how to instrument manufacturers, Joe played a crucial role in establishing EBSD as a practical technique of real value that has touched the careers of many analysts. Finally, within the last decade, Joe has repeated his past successes with focused ion beam (FIB) methods. Through his scientific publications, books, and Lehigh Short Courses on FIB, Joe has taught many of us how useful focused gallium ion beams can be for tasks as diverse as TEM sample preparation, semiconductor device inspection and repair, and elemental microanalysis.

Dr. Michael’s record of distinction in MAS is unique; in addition to being a Past President, he has won each of the major MAS awards, namely the Presidential Science Award, Service Award, and the K.F.J. Heinrich Award, and he won the MAS Birks Award for his instrumentation development. He has served as a national tour speaker for MAS on more than one occasion. His external recognition is equally impressive: the Microscopy Society of America honored him with their Burton Metal and he became an MSA Fellow in 2009, he received the Marcus A. Grossman Young Author Award from Metallurgical Transactions, and was recently recognized by Sandia National Laboratories with a promotion to Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, an honor given to a very select number of scientists at SNL.