Keil Receives Microbeam Analysis Society's 2002 Presidential Science Award

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jim Manke, (808) 956-6099
External Affairs & University Relations
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer
Posted: Jun 4, 2002

Klaus Keil, director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Geophysics and Planetology (HIGP) at UH Mānoa, was recently selected as the recipient of the Microbeam Analysis Society‘s (MAS) 2002 Presidential Science Award. This is the highest award the MAS bestows and is given each year to a scientist who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of microanalysis.

MAS is an organization of professionals who work with or have an active interest in microbeam instrumentation. Microbeam instrumentation includes, but is not limited to, instruments utilizing electron, ion, or photon beams to characterize any material, organic, inorganic, or biological. The Society provides a forum for members from industrial and academic settings, engaged in research, development, analysis and instrument manufacturing, to exchange ideas and practical experience.

"Keil is a pioneer in the development and application of electron probe microanalysis to planetary and geological materials. His career in meteoritics is truly remarkable and microanalysis has played a major role in his achievements," said MAS President Greg Meeker. "His contribution to the development of the energy dispersive x-ray detector along with Ray Fitzgerald and Kurt Heinrich has forever changed the way we do science."

Until 1968, x-rays in electron microbeam instruments, such as electron microprobes, were measured with so-called crystal spectrometers that allowed only measurement of one characteristic x-ray (i.e., one chemical element) at the time. In the seminal paper published by Keil along with R. Fitzgerald and K.F.J. Heinrich in Science in 1968, they showed that emerging energy dispersive detectors (so-called lithium-drifted silicon detectors) allowed measurement of all x-rays (i.e., all elements in the studied material) simultaneously, making analysis enormously faster than before. Today, such detectors are in use in thousands of electron microscopes and electron microprobes in laboratories all over the world.

Keil joined the faculty at UH Mānoa in 1990 and has been director of HIGP, which is part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), since 1995. Before that, he was at the University of New Mexico for 22 years where he served as professor and later chairman of the Department of Geology, as well as director of the university‘s Institute of Meteoritics. Keil has also served as a researcher for NASA‘s Space Sciences Division at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and at the University of California, La Jolla.

Keil‘s expertise encompasses the areas of meteoritics, cosmochemistry, planetary science and the evolution of asteroids. The aim of his research is to understand the processes that took place in the solar nebula and the origin of solid materials in the solar nebula early in the history of the solar system. A large area of his research is aimed at understanding the evolution of crusts, mantles and cores of differentiated asteroids and the vast array of igneous processes that may have taken place on these asteroids.

In his research, Keil employs optical microscopy, electron microprobe analysis and scanning electron microscopy to study these meteorites. He also collaborates with scientists from other institutions employing additional analytical tools such as ion microprobe techniques.

He will be presented with the award at the MAS annual meeting in Quebec City, Canada, where he will also give an invited presentation entitled "The First Ten Million Years of Solar System History: Application of Microbeam Techniques to the Study of Meteorites."

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