Anthrax expert speaks at Adelaide conference
Monday, 9 February 2009
A United States scientist who secretly helped the FBI investigate the deadly anthrax bioterrorism attacks in 2001 will be one of the key speakers at a University of Adelaide conference on microanalysis this week.
Paul Kotula from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico helped analyse the concentrated Bacillus anthracis spores which killed five people when they were mailed in letters to several media offices and two US senators.
Dr Kotula and his team worked on the project in secret for seven years, demonstrating that the spores were not a weaponised form of bacteria which disperses more readily. This information, which was crucial in ruling out state-sponsored terrorism, was not made public until 2008.
This week he will discuss this investigation - and other forms of microanalysis - at the 10th Biennial Symposium of the Australian Microbeam Analysis Society being held at the University of Adelaide from 9-13 February.
Symposium Convenor Angus Netting says it is the first time that this two-yearly meeting has been hosted in Adelaide, which has attracted around 160 delegates, including five international speakers.
The symposium will look at new and advanced analytical techniques, practical solutions and applications for scanning electron microscopes, capable of analysing specimens at many million times magnifications.
Other invited speakers include:
- Ed Vicenzi from the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, the world's pre-eminent museum and research complex;
- Raynald Gauvin from McGill University in Canada, who will discuss future trends in microscopy;
- Nestor Zaluzec, an American scientist and inventor who recently invented and patented the Scanning Confocal Electron Microscope;
- Paul Carpenter from Washington University in Missouri, who will present a paper on advances in microanalysis and their lunar mapping applications.
The event is being hosted by Adelaide Microscopy, one of Australia's most advanced centres offering the latest in electron beam techniques and also optical, confocal, multiphoton and X-ray imaging techniques.
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Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
The University of Adelaide
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