Dr. Walter C. McCrone's Contributions To The Characterization And Identification Of Explosives
Microscopy and Microanalysis
Dr. McCrone was an amazing individual, possessing many talents and having many interests. He especially loved applying polarized light microscopy (PLM) to answering the question-at-hand and solving problems. He applied PLM to many different fields including the identification of air pollution particles, asbestos identification, art conservation, pharmaceuticals, industry problems and forensic sciences. A field that I believe he enjoyed the most was the characterization and identification of
... entification of explosives. I remember a trip to Cornell University with Dr. McCrone in the mideighties where we were to teach a PLM course. After setting-up for the course, Doc took me on a tour around Cornell showing me the sites, including some of his old swimming holes and where Professor Chamot lived. He also told me a story of how, when he was a graduate student, there was young lady who was showing an unwelcome amount of attention. So Doc said he whipped up a batch of ammonium tri-iodide crystals and placed the crystals along the hall where he lived at that time. A few hours later he heard the door open and as the footsteps came down the hallway the ammonium tri-iodide crystals "popped". Doc was surprised they did not impede what he thought was the young lady and got up to answer the knock on the door. To his surprise it was Professor Chamot who said "What are you up to McCrone?". I am sure you wonder if the story is true but if you could have only seen the smile on Doc's face.