‘Unsung hero’ of microscopy to receive prestigious RMS accolade

Materials preparation specialist Mr Kevin Smith wins Vice-Presidents’ Medal for Microscopy Research and Laboratory Support

The RMS is delighted to announce materials microscopist Kevin Smith as recipient of the Vice-Presidents’ Medal 2020.

Kevin has been involved in materials microscopy for over 40 years. During that time - particularly at CML (GEC) Whetstone, and Alcan International Banbury - he provided and developed microscopical support for a broad range of projects and scientific personnel.

He has trained numerous staff in the many aspects of microscopy - covering SEM, TEM, EPMA as well as optical microscopy – and provided technical support in sample preparation.

At Buehler UK in Coventry, he ran the European Customer Support Laboratory, passing on his knowledge through numerous training courses in several countries. During this time the quality of his photomicrography was recognised by various international imaging competitions and numerous prizes.

Having moved on to a career in sales and technical support for MetPrep, Kevin became responsible for all aspects of microscopy and preparation, as well as his sales role.

He was also responsible for setting up the company’s first training courses for customers in the UK which became a key part of its success and growth. His later positions at IMAS (Zeiss) and Olympus - again in a sales role - allowed him to develop his techniques and demonstrate to others how to solve their microscopy applications.

At Olympus he was responsible for all materials microscopy across the UK, including laser-scanning confocal applications and high-end image analysis techniques. With this, again, came large amounts of customer training and support.

Since returning to Metprep several years ago he has single-handedly rewritten the company’s training courses on materials microscopy and materials preparation. Delegates of all levels, and covering both industry and academia attend these courses.

In 2003 Kevin was made an Accredited Imaging Scientist and an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society. A year later he was awarded Fellowship based on his scientific imaging. He was also awarded the Barnard Certificate of Excellence in Photomicrography by the Quekett Microscopical Society.

Kevin has recently spent several years researching his now completed RMS Diploma - The Role of Microscopy in the Preparation and Examination of Metallographically prepared Materials. His work is being used to help people develop their understanding of both materials preparation and the use of contrast techniques in obtaining more information from their samples. This has proved hugely successful for both MetPrep and its customers.

Kevin's efforts and passion have proved most effective in promoting a greater understanding of microscopy and its application in Metallography. This applies in particular for those just starting a career in materials microscopy.

He continues to be recognised in international photomicrography competitions and his continued passion for microscopy and preparation is being passed on to people on a daily basis through his regular interaction with customers in the field.

RMS Vice Presidents, Dr Peter O’Toole and Professor Susan Anderson said: “Throughout his long and impressive career, Kevin has tirelessly imparted considerable knowledge and expertise to others, driven by a passion for his subject, and a desire to inspire others to get involved in materials microscopy."

“He truly is one of the unsung heroes of microscopy and continues working daily to improve materials preparation and materials microscopy across the UK. It is hard to imagine a more worthy winner of the RMS Vice Presidents’ award.”

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