Skip Palenik

Skip Palenik is an analytical microscopist which means he looks at very tiny things like dust and hairs. He is an author and a lecturer. He has been lecturing for more than 30 years teaching young forensic scientists in analytical microscopist the two universities he teaches at are: Illinois institute of technology and the University of Illinois in Chigoe. Skip is most well-known for working on the hillside strangler case which was where lots of women got killed. Dr Palenik was able to track down the killer he did this by looking carefully on the women’s clothing and eventually found little bits of paint which lead him to the murderer.  As soon as Skip caught him he confessed to killing 71 women.

Some of his most famous investigations occurred in America and he solved one case in Japan – the Narita airport bombing.  The cases he solved in America were: the hillside strangler in Los Angles, Green River Killer in Washington, the Jonbenet Ramsey case in Colorado the Atlanta child murders and the Unabomber were some of his famous cases.  The Unabomber was a person who destroyed many govement buildings. Skip also helped solve the Oklahoma bombing.

As a young boy Skip received a microscope which inspired him to become an analytical microscopist. With this micro scope, Skip was known to empty his mother’s vacuum cleaner and look at the dust and dirt through his microscope.  He did not know then but that method he used was called Locard’s Exchange Principle.  This refers to a scientific theory that any contact leaves a trace.

Skip Palenik is the 2009 person to receive the Paul L. Kirk Award which the highest award given by the criminalistics section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the 2003 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Midwestern Association of Forensic Sciences and is listed in American Men and Women of Science. In 2010 he was awarded the Chamot Medal in chemical microscopy by the State Microscopical Society of Illinois.



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