Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Presentation: 7:00PM


Authenticity and Beyond:

Forensic Art Analysis


Speaker: Joe Barabe

Hosted by the Lemont Artists Guild (LAG) and the Homer Township Public Library

SMSI Members and Friends,


Joe Barabe, our fellow SMSI member, will present “Authenticity and Beyond: Forensic Art Analysis” on Wednesday, April 14th, 7PM, hosted by the Lemont Artists Guild (LAG) and the Homer Township Public Library. The presentation will be on line and registration is required. A link will be emailed to all registered patrons shortly before the program. If you don’t see the email, check your spam folder. Another opportunity to attend an interesting, educational and excellent presentation!

Art Struss, SMSI President



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On April 14, 2021, the Homer Township Public Library and the Lemont Artists Guild present Research Microscopist Joseph Barabe who will discuss the ongoing question in the art and historical world of “It looks convincing, but is it?” which is often asked when artworks, ancient documents, and other historical objects are offered for sale or put on display. Joseph will explain how science can offer many ways to identify fraudulent works such as specialized imaging, microscopical observation and analysis, and other high-tech methods will be described, along with numerous interesting case studies of both non-authentic works and several that strongly suggest authenticity. He will also talk about a project he worked on for the FBI, suggested forgeries of folk artist Clementine Hunter, an Alfred Sisley (who was a French painter) case, with a number of factors suggesting authenticity. Hope you can register and attend this program to find out more about this interesting topic that intersects with the world of art and history!


Joseph Barabe is a Research Microscopist at Barabe & Associates LLC in Oak Park, IL. He retired seven years ago from McCrone Associates Inc. in Westmont, IL, a microscopy and microanalytical consulting firm, where he served for 24 years as Director of Scientific Imaging and Senior Research Microscopist. His more well-known projects include the photomicrography (photography of objects under a microscope) of the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination, the analysis of the ink on the Gospel of Judas for National Geographic, the Clementine Hunter forgery case for the FBI, the Archaic Mark forgery for the University of Chicago, and the mysterious Voynich Manuscript analysis for Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. He will leave time also for follow up questions and discussion. You can find out more about Joseph at and


Catherine Lambrecht of the Illinois Mycological Association has invited SMSI to their April 19th presentation, “Linking DNA to the Microscope”. It should be a very interesting meeting and presentation involving microscopy. Learn about water molds with spores that can swim around. Special thanks to the Illinois Mycological Association for the invitation! The link to the ZOOM meeting is as follows:

Linking DNA to the microscope

with Timothy James, PhD

Monday, April 19, 2021 at 7:30 PM

Join Zoom Meeting

  The link above has the password built into it, but if needed:

Meeting ID: 871 5719 2594
Passcode: 211249

If you need to phone in:  +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

More detailed Zoom instructions

Meanwhile, we look forward to better days.

In the past twenty years the field of mycology has been revolutionized by studies that use DNA detected in the environment to reveal a hidden diversity that exceeds the diversity that has been formally described. In other words, what is present in the pages of journals and cabinets of herbaria is only the tip of the iceberg of a vast fungal species diversity. Unfortunately knowing something is there can only tell one so much. Timothy James will discuss some of the approaches we can use to infer the biology of these hidden organisms using a Tree of Life paradigm and microscopy and cultivation methods. He will discuss in particular a project on the aquatic group known as chytrids which are mostly known as aquatic parasites of algae, zooplankton, or as water molds. These fascinating fungi are the only ones that spores that swim around, which is an adaptation for living in an aquatic habitat that has been maintained from before the blossoming of life on land. In this project we are using sequencing from single cells observed in the microscope to read out the evolutionary history and ecological toolkit that is written into the genome. 
Timothy James is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan and the Curator of Fungi at the University Herbarium. He received his BSc in Botany from the University of Georgia and PhD from Duke University. His research focuses on reconstructing the Fungal Tree of Life and using DNA sequencing to understand the mysterious ways that fungi reproduce and find food in the environment. His specific groups of interest include the chytrid fungi, a microscopic group that like animals has retained the ability to swim. He recently established a culture collection that maintains over 1000 strains of these fungi for distribution to the scientific community. He has been actively involved in the Mycological Society of America and served as Associate Editor for Mycologia. Additional service roles include Director of the department’s Frontiers Master’s Bridging Program, Co-Founder and Director of the Midwest American Mycological Information educational non-profit, and member of the DOE Joint Genome Institute’s Users Executive Committee.


All kinds of interesting and educational opportunities!

Art Struss   SMSI - President





McCrone Microscopy Training

Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Course Series

McCrone Research Institute's drug microcrystal test courses cover basic and advanced microscopical techniques that emphasize the methods used in polarized light microscopy and optical crystallography. Microcrystal tests using various reagents allow microscopists to recognize and identify specific microcrystals formed in the presence of suspected drugs. Each course focuses on a different group of drugs or techniques. Select a course date to read the full course description and register online.


Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Group 1 (1726V)

ONLINE: April 12-13 and May 27-28

Microcrystal tests for BZP, clonazepam, cocaine, diazepam, hydromorphone, MDMA, methadone, and PCP.

Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Group 2 (1727V)

ONLINE: April 15-16 and May 24-25

Microcrystal tests for amphetamine, codeine, diazepam, ephedrine, heroin, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, oxycodone, and pseudoephedrine.


Microcrystal Tests for Illicit Drugs Extraction Techniques (1728V)

ONLINE: May 12

Microscopical extraction techniques for illicit drugs and diverted pharmaceuticals in various formulations and delivery mechanisms including tablets, oral solutions, and transdermal patches.


Advanced Indoor Air Quality: Advanced Fungal Spore Identification (1635V)

ONLINE: April 5-9

Microscope Cleaning, Maintenance and Adjustment (1301V)

ONLINE: April 27-28


Indoor Air Quality: Fungal Spore Identification (1630V)

ONLINE: May 3-7


Asbestos Fiber Counting [NIOSH 582] (1616)

IN-PERSON: May 17-21


Microscopical Identification of Asbestos (1608A)

IN-PERSON: June 7-11


Applied Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) (1201) / Forensic Microscopy (1204)

IN-PERSON: June 21-25

Top photomicrograph: These crystals are the result of a microcrystal test for the drug MDPV using a reagent of gold bromide with phosphoric acid and acetic acid. (McCrone Research Institute)

Inter/Micro 2021 is Canceled

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McCrone Research Institute has determined that its ability to open for larger events is currently prohibited by state regulations, and we do not anticipate changes prior to July that would allow an event to occur in June. Therefore, we regret to announce the cancellation of the 2021 Inter/Micro microscopy conference due to these limitations and the unavailability of a suitable facility. While we can’t meet this year, McCrone is here for you now, and we are planning an extraordinary 2022 event. Learn more

Support McCrone Research Institute

After 60 years of providing scientific and educational service, and for the first time in our organization’s history, we are asking for your help. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all McCrone's operations and programs have been temporarily reduced or suspended, and we have gone to an on-demand course schedule. Please make a gift to the McCrone Research Institute COVID-19 Preservation and Relief Fund to sustain the Institute for current and future generations of scientists.

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