The Microanalysis Community Loses Some Magic

MIT’s first microprobe built by R. Ogilvie’s students (left-to-right ?, Flanagan, Ogilvie, Nixon, ?, Colby, ?, Ziebold)

John Colby passed away in March. I first met John in 1969 when I was at RPI in graduate school working with our MAC probe. I had heard about MAGIC, a computer ZAF correction program coming out of Bell Laboratories, then in Allentown PA, and contacted John, its author, to ask for a copy on punch cards to run on our IBM 360. He readily complied, and that was a start of what turned out to be a long friendship and occasional business relationship. John was lured away from Bell Labs by Kevex Corporation a few years later, and soon John and his MAGIC put Kevex firmly on the map, most notably in Japan, where he became very appreciative of the Japanese culture and collected many Japanese artifacts. John and I had the opportunity to work together for a brief time at PGT (now Bruker) and then later with his new EDS quant program called FLAME, based loosely on Fuzzy Logic and incorporated by Scott Davilla as part of the 4Pi EDS package. Later John developed SLICE, a very clever EDS database search and match program done with FBI funding under the auspices and in close cooperation with Dennis Ward, a chemist and SEM expert working in Quantico.

John and I had some very good times together, and I would often meet up with him when he and his wife Susan, who survives him, lived in Foster City (CA). At that time, I had started Peak Instruments and was visiting Silicon Valley frequently, seeking and supporting customers using the Peak Spectrometer for the analysis of borophosphosilicate glass (BPSG), a dielectric layer used in chip technology. John and I would often finish our dinner with a nice cigar. I remember one instance, when we were enjoying a cigar together on a bench in Palo Alto, during which we learned from two policemen in a cruiser, lights flashing, that smoking anywhere in Palo Alto was against the law. Fortunately, they let us off with just a warning.

John was a prolific software creator and an accomplished algorithm developer. John was one of the founders of the Microanalysis society and one of the contributing authors on the first “Goldstein book”, which has become a bible for electron beam microanalysis. Later, he became somewhat of a maverick in the scientific microanalysis community, seldom publishing and letting slide his associations with other elite developers in the field. Possibly because of this, John may not be well known among the current MAS and EMSA memberships. Just last year, however, John was recognized for his contributions to electron beam microanalysis by being made a fellow of MAS.

I am sure I can speak for Scott and Dennis when I say that I will miss J.W. Colby, the stubborn man with the very creative mind, and know that the Microanalysis community has truly lost some magic.

Nick Barbi

Money! Money! Money! (for scholars)

MAS is pleased to announce the call for applications for the Joseph Goldstein Scholar Award, sponsored by the Meteoritical Society and the publisher Springer. This new award is intended to promote career advancement for early career members of the Microanalysis Society, increase interactions of junior and established microanalysts, and to advance the state-of-the-art in microanalysis measurements. Activities eligible for the awards are: (1) travel costs for the Goldstein Scholar to visit a microanalysis facility to make measurements that advance the Goldstein Scholar’s skills and/or the state-of-the-art in microanalysis; (2) Travel costs / fees associated with attendance at a microanalysis school or training course, e.g., Lehigh Microscopy School, Hooke College of Applied Sciences, ASU, etc.. Up to five awards of up to $1000 each will be granted each year, with applications reviewed twice yearly in conjunction with the Winter and Summer Council Meetings. All MAS members who are less than 5 years beyond their terminal degree, and who have not received a Goldstein Scholar award within the prior 5 years, are eligible to apply. A one-time renewal for current awardees who need to make a return visit for additional measurements will be considered, in cases where this will have a clear impact on the results obtained, e.g., equipment failure on the first visit.

The deadline for applications is May 1st, 2019, and the results will be announced on June 15th, 2019. More information can be found here.

Election Results

President-elect – Heather Lowers

Please join me in congratulating our new and returning Executive Council members for 2019. Our incoming President Elect for January 2019-August 2020 is Heather Lowers. Elaine Schumacher will stay for a second term as Treasurer (2019-2020). The incoming directors are Donovan Leonard and Abigail Lindstrom (2019-2021). Many thanks to our two outgoing Directors, Vincent (Vin) Smentkowski and Julie Chouinard for their service to MAS over the last three years. In addition, the change to the By-Laws to clarify the annual audit requirement was approved.

Happy New Year,

Rhonda Stroud
MAS President

Welcome to the MAS’ New Website

Yoosuf, Abby, Emma, Nicholas and Anette at Comet Ping Pong (Yes, that Comet Ping Pong. I checked – no basement.)

Welcome to the new Microanalysis Society website.  Our previous site was 10 years old and had served us well but it was time to move on.  The web had changed.  More people are accessing sites from their mobile devices.  Secure HTTP (HTTPS://) has gone from being a nicety to a requirement.  There are the new European privacy requirements.  Finally, only a few people understood the Plone content management system that we used to administer the old site and the host company was getting unreliable.  For these and many other reasons, it was time to move on.

So welcome! Here we are. Thanks to the hard work of the Computer Activities Committee, we have a entirely new website.  Anette von der Handt, Emma Bullock, Yoosuf Picard, Abigail Lindstrom and Nicholas Ritchie got together at the Carnegie Institute of Washington for a weekend of intense weekend of website development (and a beer or two.)  During two long days of effort over 100 pages of content were ported from the old site to the new.  We carried over the important relationships with our Affiliated Regional Societies and the International Societies.  We carried over our formative documents. We carried over our society awards and the winners.  We carried over the event calendar.  We added some new content too.  There are new resources pages.

But we aren’t finished. The new site will continue to evolve over time to reflect the changing needs of the MAS membership. To that end, we encourage suggestions for new features and improved functionality.

In designing the new site, we tried to focus the needs of the membership.  We designed the navigation to bring forward the most used and useful parts of the site.  Now we can keep track of the numbers of people (anonymously) visiting the site and the pages they visit.  Try the site on your smart phone or tablet. Now that more people are accessing the web through mobile devices, it was important that the site will automatically reformat to fit your device.  Dan Ruscitto and the Social Media Committee is reinvigorating our Society’s social media presence.  Follow us on Twitter ( or on Facebook (  How can we serve you better?

As the members of a great, member driven society, this is our site. It becomes richer and more useful when we the members submit content. Send us your microanalysis-related images, articles and links of interest.  Together we can make the MAS a better, stronger and more vigorous professional society. Onward and upward!

Nicholas, Anette, Emma, Yoosuf & Abby
The MAS Computer Activities Committee

New President’s Address

Rhonda2Every two years at the end of the Wednesday night Business Meeting during the M&M meeting, a new President of the Microanalysis Society takes over the gavel and beads of office. This year in Baltimore it was my honor to receive those ceremonial tokens from Masashi Watanabe. When I joined MAS in 2005, the thought of one day leading the society was not even remotely on my mind. I joined because I was asked, by two colleagues whom I knew and respected as experts in materials analysis. Like many in the microscopy community even today, at that time I was honestly a little confused about the different roles played by MAS and our sister society, MSA. But my colleagues needed a new addition to the MAS tour speaker roster, and they thought FIB-enabled coordinated TEM and SIMS analysis of supernova stardust was just the thing to interest the local societies. So I said, “Yes.”

Thirteen years later, the role of MAS in the microscopy and microanalysis community is much clearer to me. MAS is first and foremost a community of problem solvers. We are diverse in our backgrounds, with degrees in materials science, geology, physics, chemistry, biology and more. We are diverse in the employment sector, hailing from universities, industrial laboratories, national labs, and commercial vendor corporations. We are united by our common goal of solving materials problems through microanalysis. Our wealth of expertise was prominently on display at this year’s M&M Plenary session, where for the first time MAS inducted society Fellows. There we honored 28 Legends who, over the first fifty years of the society’s history, pioneered the methods we now all rely on for our microanalysis solutions: WDS, EDS, XRF, SIMS, EELS, FIB and more. Imagine for a moment trying to solve a problem in catalysis, or microelectronics, or art conservation, or planetary materials or pharmaceutical development without applying at least one of those techniques. The ability to obtain answers and provide solutions for materials problems across so many disciplines and applications is exactly our strength and purpose as a society.

Looking to the future, the prospects for the Microanalysis Society over the next fifty years are strong. Our membership numbers are growing (over 550), and our financial position is robust (over $500K in assets). This year MAS leadership will focus on providing even better value to our current and future members. We will expand popular initiatives, such as the Meal with a Mentor Lunch, which brings senior society members to together with student members to discuss microanalysis career options over lunch following the M&M Plenary Session. We will modernize our member communications with more extensive social media outreach, a modern website, and easier “one-stop-shopping” member renewal on the joint MAS-MSA member portal. I hope that each member finds more ways to be engaged with MAS that fit their individual goals and expertise, whether through contributing to microanalysis-focused symposia at M&M, participating in a Topical Conference (QMA-2019!), applying for a Goldstein Scholar Early Career Fellowship, or even serving as a host and mentor to Goldstein Scholar. MAS is a society of problem solvers, and each member is part of the solution. Thank you to all those who have contributed to making MAS as vibrant a community as it is today. I look forward to seeing you in Portland next summer, if not before.


Rhonda M. Stroud
MAS President

Recommend Excellent Papers for MAS Best Paper Awards

Dear M&M Attendee:

On behalf of the MAS Awards committee, let me first thank you for your participation in the upcoming annual meeting in Baltimore. Now allow me to ask for you assistance. Each year, MAS recognizes outstanding contributions by scientists at the M&M Meeting through four Outstanding Paper Awards. These are:

  1. The Castaing Award for Best Student Paper
  2. The Birks Award for Best Contributed Paper
  3. The Cosslett Award for Best Invited Paper
  4. The Macres Award for Best Instrumentation/Software Paper

With your help, the best papers presented this year in Baltimore can receive the recognition that they deserve. If you see a particularly excellent paper please tell us about it at the following link:

Your participation is vital to our selecting the very best papers at M&M each year, and we thank you for your valuable input. It would also be helpful if you could being this request to the attention of other attendees and may have additional suggestions for worthy candidates.

Thank you very much for your input,


Andrew A. Herzing, Ph.D.
MAS Awards Committee Chairman

Goldstein Scholar Winner – Will Nachlas

NachlasWill Nachlas, a postdoc in the Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University, received a Joseph Goldstein Scholar Award to pursue research into the development of trace element mineral standards. Will used the Goldstein Award to visit the Northeast National Ion Microprobe Facility (NENIMF) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) to collect measurements using the Cameca IMS-1280 secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS). In collaboration with researchers at WHOI, Will used the SIMS to test the trace element compositions of a series of synthetic crystals grown from high pressure-temperature crystallization experiments.

SIMS is the premier technique for high spatial and mass resolution quantitative analysis. This method enables concentrations to be determined at the parts per million level from micron-sized regions of solid samples. However, quantitative measurements using SIMS rely on matrix-matched standard materials that contain the analyte of interest at multiple different concentrations. With new developments in trace element-based petrologic techniques, there is increasing demand for standard materials suitable for instrument calibration. To this end, Will has been working to synthesize crystalline material with specific, homogeneous trace-level concentrations that can be distributed to the community for use as trace element mineral standards. However, this effort began as a “side project”, and it was delayed by lack of funds needed to acquire the SIMS data. With support from the Microanalysis Society through a Goldstein Scholar Award, it became possible to acquire the data necessary to advance this research.

The Goldstein Scholar Award provides an excellent opportunity for early career scientists to pursue self-directed research and foster collaborations as an independent researcher. The ability to craft a research proposal to support individual research efforts is an empowering and motivating experience. With funding support provided by a Goldstein Award, Will was able to complete a major component of the necessary analytical work to move his work towards publication. Preliminary results of this research, including measurements obtained on the ion probe at WHOI, were recently presented in an invited presentation in session A09 – Standards, Reference Materials, and Their Applications in Quantitative Microanalysis at the 2017 Microscopy & Microanalysis meeting in St. Louis.

Catch up with FIGMAS

Dear Microanalytical Community,

In the summer of 2018, the Focused Interest Group on MicroAnalytical Standards (FIGMAS) will celebrate its 2-year anniversary. Time for us to look back at the past and onto the future! Our primary goals remain unchanged: building a strong community-based database that would list all available information possible on standards and reference materials used by the microanalytical community (SEM, EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, SIMS, etc.), and preparing the terrane for the reference materials of tomorrow. In the following I would like to update you on news and events around FIGMAS activities.



First, we have been working on a web-based interface that would not only list all this information, but also enable users and members of our group to enter new standards information or to suggest an update. This web interface at is still in development, and the webmaster (hum… myself) apologizes for taking so long to finish it. I promise to get back to it soon! We also invite you to send your information on standards and reference materials. A forum has also been opened on FIGMAS to allow members to discuss their experience with reference materials, their preparation and maintenance, etc.


Survey and round-robin

Second, we need to evaluate the needs of standards for the next century, and to facilitate the creation of synthetic materials or the (re-)collection of natural ones. A survey has been running over the past month among our members to dress a list of potential candidates for a “new standard”, and you will soon have the opportunity to vote for one or more of the suggested materials / minerals. With the help of John Fournelle and Gareth Seward, we are preparing a round robin to permit testing your laboratory performances and evaluating a couple “surprise” minerals… More will be revealed later this year if all goes as planned.


Pre-Meeting Congress at M&M 2018

Let me take here the opportunity to remind you of our Pre-Meeting Congress X61 at the Microscopy & Microanalysis 2018 meeting in Baltimore (MD) on Saturday August 5th. This PMC, the first of its kind organized by FIGMAS, consists of a one-day meeting combining invited talks, round-table discussions, and poster presentations from contributors. The attendees will learn about and discuss best practices for standard-less and standard-based methods, and for choosing appropriate standards and reference materials for quantitative analysis by EPMA, SEM and other in situ techniques. An overview of speakers and some more information is available at We will also have a poster session, and everyone is encouraged to show their research on standard compositions, synthesis or sample preparation. Deadline for abstract submission is JUNE 1st.


Update on FIGMAS membership

Our list of members has been growing consistently, up to a point where it became the largest Focused Interest Group with 73 paying members from 57 difference academic institution at the end of 2017; 31 members have already renewed their membership in the first couple months of 2018. It confirms the interest (and concerns) of the community about standards and reference materials in terms of quality, availability, material creation, etc. It could also be a side-effect of being the first Focused Interest Group approved and supported by both the Microscopy Society of America and the Microanalysis Society. In any case, this venture would have never been possible without you, and we sincerely thank YOU for your support.


FIGMAS Business Meeting at M&M 2018

We will have again a FIGMAS business meeting at the upcoming M&M meeting. It will take place on Tuesday, June 7th at 12.15 PM.  We will inform you about the exact location when we know more.


Upcoming FIGMAS-elections and transition of leadership

At the end of this year, I will leave the leadership of FIGMAS to Anette von der Handt. I am convinced Anette will do an excellent job, and FIGMAS will be in very good hands. I wish her success in this endeavor! On my end, I will remain webmaster of the website and of course in close contact with the community. As a consequence, a ballot will be organized to nominate a new leader-elect and a secretary-treasurer during the FIGMAS business meeting on Tuesday August 8th at noon. Owen Neill is standing for re-election to the secretary-treasurer position, while we are also accepting other nominations. FIGMAS members can nominate a suitable candidate using the form available in the member section of the FIGMAS website ( It has been a great honor and pleasure to meet all of you, and to serve for the community. Long live FIGMAS!


Yours truly,


Julien M. Allaz, FIGMAS leader 2017-2018

MAS Past President’s Message: Sayonara

Dear MAS Members,

On August 8, 2018, I passed the MAS presidency to Rhonda Stroud and became one of Past Presidents. I am still in transition process, so that I have not yet felt relief from the heavy pressure being the President. Soon, I will enjoy the relief feeling!

The previous President, Tom Kelly has created new dynamics in the society and I wanted to maintain the dynamics during my presidency. If you notice some of recent MAS activities, I think my primary mission as the MAS President was successfully accomplished. Although I expressed “my” primary mission, I have been strongly supported by various MAS members, especially the executive council members and committee chairs including committee members. Without their dedicated supports, nothing has been completed. I would like to express my sincere acknowledgement to the individuals who supported the society managements (and me!).

In addition, I would like to thank the Presidents of our sister societies: Mike Marko, Ian Anderson, Bob Price and Paul Kotula (MSA), Ric Wuhrer (AMAS), Mike Matthews (EMAS), and Ed Vicenzi (IUMAS). It was great to contribute to the M&M organization together with MSA. We had successful M&M meetings. As I described in the previous Presidential Messages, I was invited to the AMAS 2017 meeting (Brisbane, Australia) and to the EMAS 2017 meeting (Konstanz, Germany) as the President exchange program among the sister MAS societies. It was wonderful experiences to attend to those meetings organized by our sister societies. Furthermore, I was also invited to the EAMC3 (The 3rd East-Asia Microscopy Conference) meeting as one of the key note speakers in November, 2017 (Busan, Korea). This invitation is partially due to the MAS Presidency. It was great to bridge sister societies. Good and strong relationship with the sister societies should be continued.

During my presidency, we had two major events: the MAS 50th Anniversary and launching the MAS Fellow Program. More details of those events can be found in the links above. Prior to the events, I contacted the Previous MAS Presidents and the Legend class of MAS Fellows. It was wonderful for me to exchange e-mails with whom I just knew by name from textbooks and scientific articles when I was a student! I never forget this wonderful experience, which is a gift to me for my MAS presidency!

Now, the situation of MAS is very healthy: over 550 members (the highest in 21st century) and decent finance. New challenge would be to keep this high membership and activities, which is one of the fundamental missions to make the society stronger towards the 75th anniversary and beyond. I have no doubt that the New President Rhonda Stroud and the council members will lead us to the next stage of the society!

Finally, I would like to finish this message by citing a phrase from an old Japanese song:

“Sayonara (Good Bye)” is not a word for farewell but a long-term promise to see you again!

Thank you very much for your tremendous contributions and kind supports to MAS and “Sayonara!”

Masashi Watanabe
Past President

UM hosts the 2018 MAS TC on EBSD

EBSD 2018 TC

Katharina Marquardt presents at EBSD-2018

The latest Microanalysis Society Topical Conference on Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) took place this May 23–25 at the University of Michigan. The organizers, Steve Niezgoda (OSU), Marc DeGraef (CMU), Elena Miranda (CSUN), Andrew Cross (Wash U – St Louis), Bobby Kerns (UM) and Emmanuelle Marquis (UM) ensured a comprehensive program with speakers including Katharina Marquardt (University Bayreuth, Germany), John Wheeler (University of Liverpool, UK), Maurine Montagnat (Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement, France), Angus Wilkinson (Oxford University, UK) and Ralf Hielscher (Chemnitz Technische Universität, Germany) to cover the range of new applications and analyses methods relevant to EBSD.

The meeting brought together a total of over 170 participants internationally including post-docs, researchers, vendors and over 70 graduate students. The conference featured three days of lectures and animated conversation on EBSD applications and developments within materials, geo-, and planetary sciences, engineering, and industry. The dynamic conference format combined interactive live demonstrations from vendors using equipment at the Michigan Center for Materials Characterization to showcase the latest EBSD hardware and software with poster and plenary sessions.

Along with a workshop and presentation on sample preparation and data analysis, Day 1 provided lab demonstrations on a flexible sign-up basis. Students and others seeking even more hands-on insights on EBSD methods were also treated to tutorials in geoscience and engineering materials within the (MC)2 laboratory space. The theme of Day 2 was “EBSD for Characterization of Microstructure Evolution” and also featured a poster session with over forty presenters. Winners of the best poster student awards are Penny Weiser (U Cambridge) for Geological Sciences and Tian Liu (U Alabama) for Materials Sciences. Day 3 emphasized advances in EBSD technology and data analysis, such as Bayesian approaches on how to most effectively use data mining approaches to assist in analyzing materials.

Represented vendors throughout the duration of the conference included BLG Vantage, Bluequartz, Buelher, Bruker, Cambridge Press, EDAX, EXpressLO LLC, E.A. Fischione, Gatan, Hitachi, JEOL, Leica Microsystems, Mager Scientific, NanoMEGAS, Oxford Instruments, TESCAN, Thermo Scientific, and ZEISS Microscopy.

MAS Director Emma Bullock heads up the Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers

In early August, 2017, a group of 21 teachers from around the US took part in the Smithsonian Science Education Academy for Teachers (SSEATs) on Earth’s History and Global Change. This program is designed to introduce K-12 teachers to world-class scientists, strategies for science education, and provide resources to take science back to their classrooms. MAS Director Emma Bullock was the Science Coordinator for the week, and accompanied the teachers as they explored how our earth formed, what happens during mass extinctions, and how humans have changed the environment around them.

During the course of the week, the teachers visited the National Museum of Natural History, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Early in the week, Dr. Bullock introduced the teachers to meteorites, and explored what they can tell us about the origins of our Solar System, and other planetary bodies. This was followed by a tour of the U.S. national meteorite collection, where the teachers had the opportunity to hold pieces of the moon and Mars in their hands. At Carnegie, the teachers interacted with more world-class scientists, and had the opportunity to get hands-on with a mass spectrometer to age-date some zircon crystals. The group also learned how to perform geochemical analysis using a field-emission JEOL scanning electron microscope equipped with an Oxford EDS system.