2017 EM Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Eric Formo, University of Georgia

Thermo Fisher Scientific is proud to present our 2017 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Eric V. Formo. “Planet #1” won Eric a Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera kit. Congratulations, Eric! 

Image Inspiration:

Micrometeorites are extraterrestrial dust particles, including fragments of comets and asteroids, that reach the Earth's surface in impressive numbers: ~40,000 tones each year. Samples from traditional collection sites like Antarctica have been well-studied by scientists because they contain important information about the composition and distribution of materials in our solar system. Samples from these sites are also relatively straightforward to isolate from snow and ice. In recent work, we have isolated micrometeorites in more challenging, populated areas, such as building rooftops on the University of Georgia’s (UGA) campus in Athens, Georgia. The positive identification of individual micrometeorites in the 5 to 500 micron size range requires high-resolution imaging and elemental analysis, such as the capabilities available on the Teneo. From a large initial number of candidates, the authentic micrometeorites were sleuthed out based on their morphologies and elemental compositions. In the image, the central microsphere has been false-colored to resemble an inhabited planet, like Earth or Kashyyyk, although in fact the surrounding smaller materials are the actual micrometeorites. Along with the enjoyable activity of imaging the samples, we wondered about their origins in the cosmos.

About the Winner:

Eric V. Formo, is the Laboratory Manager of the Electron Microscopy Core Lab at the University of Georgia. Previously, he was a Post Doc at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory primarily focused on the synthesis of inorganic nanostructures and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri under the tutelage of Younan Xia with research focused on catalytic nanostructures, along with a Masters in Chemistry from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Chemistry from North Carolina State University. Current interests include nanomaterials in the environment, STEM employment, scientific visualization, and of course electron microscopy. His nonprofessional interests include spending time with his family, gardening, hiking, traveling, baking, towering over people, and making very dry jokes.