Bastin PhD Thesis Award

EMAS and Thermo Fisher Scientific are proud to announce the new Bastin PhD Thesis Award to promote and reward the interest in microbeam analysis and related techniques by young people in the early stages of a scientific or technical career. This award, created officially in 2019, replaces the EMAS Thesis Award.

This award is named after Giel (Guillaume) F. Bastin (1944 - 2015) to honour his tremendous work on developing quantitative capabilities of ultra-light elements on electron microprobes, and for being one of the founding fathers of the European Microbeam Analysis Society (EMAS), which he presided from 2001 to 2005. An obituary published in the EMAS News 78 (March 2015) is reproduced below. The Bastin Fund used for this award is financially supported by Thermo Fisher Scientific, yet the scientific works are exclusively and independently evaluated by an ad-hoc committee from the EMAS board and expert co-opted members of the EMAS community.

The Bastin PhD Thesis award is given every two years to an author of a PhD-thesis in the field of electron microscopy related microanalysis, specifically EDS, WDS, EBSD and CL. Submissions are receivable until 2 years after graduation. Because of the exceptional circumstances relating to Covid-19, applications for the 1st Bastin PhD Thesis Award are currently receivable by the submission deadline of August 30th, 2024, for PhD-degrees awarded after January 1st, 2019. A short-list of exceptional submissions will go forward for a final decision. All non short-listed applicants will be notified by end of 2024.

The winning applicant will receive three years complimentary EMAS regular membership and a € 2,500 cash prize*. Moreover, the Bastin Fund will cover all reasonable travel and hotel costs, and workshop registration of the award winner, up to an amount of about € 1,000, for attending the next EMAS European Workshop where he/she should give a presentation in the Early Career Scientists’ Session. Please note there is no alternative prize to the EMAS Workshop attendance. All short-listed candidates will be offered an EMAS ECS bursary to attend the next European workshop also including a talk in the ECS session.

To qualify for the award, the candidate must send to the EMAS Secretary the following:

  • A 10- to 15-page summary in English.
  • A pre-recorded 15-minute MPEG4-format presentation (in English) of the work.
  • A short CV, including a listing of the conferences attended and the papers published.
  • Full PhD-thesis in PDF-format.
  • A letter of the supervisor is NOT required.
  • The applicant should be a member of EMAS in good standing at the time of application. A verification will be made when the application is received.
  • The applicant should be available for an online (ZOOM platform) question and answer session on Friday January 17th, 2025 between 1500 and 1700 CET.


Next deadline for submission: Friday August 30th, 2024. * in exceptional circumstances the prize might be shared between multiple winners.


Obituary of Giel (Guillaume) F. Bastin (1944-2015)

Bastin foto

Giel Bastin was born in Heerlen, a city in the southeast part of the Netherlands, in 1944. After secondary school he moved to Eindhoven to study Physical Chemistry at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe). Apparently, Giel and the TUe were a good match, as he remained at the TUe for his PhD, and after that continued working in a staff position for the rest of his working life.

His prime research field was solid state chemistry: the investigation of diffusion behaviour of solids and research in and discovery of binary and ternary phase diagrams. In this period he first became acquainted with the electron probe microanalyser (EPMA). Starting off as regular user, Giel became more and more interested in the exact quantification procedures used in EPMA. This was triggered by the needs of the research in his department, where the focus shifted towards technical ceramics, which generally include ultra-light elements, and the availability of new synthetic diffracting crystals for his EPMA, allowing the accurate detection of these ultra-light elements.

When he realised that classic quantification procedures were unable to cope with X rays from the ultra-light elements, he embarked on a mission to develop his own quantification procedures. But then he faced the task of verifying the general applicability of his models, and worked on his prime opus: to build a huge database with as many EPMA measurements of as many elements as possible and a wide range of measuring condition to allow a rigorous test of any quantification model. In this task he received tremendous support from Hans Heijligers, his stoic EPMA operator, who would spend many months and years acquiring the EPMA data under Giel’s supervision. Based on all these measurements, Giel published several versions of his quantification model, which he named PROZA, and these were indeed a widely acclaimed improvement over other available EPMA quantification routines.

When Giel realised that the quantification models were now actually more accurate than the EPMA measurements themselves, Giel moved on to extend his models to thin-film and multilayer analysis. And in the process of developing these routines he kept fine-tuning the standard EPMA quantification routines. As a result, the scientific community knows Giel Bastin for both his achievements in developing the tools for accurate ultra-light element analysis and for his routines for thin-film analysis.

In his personal life, Giel married his first wife Jannie Koster at the age of 21 when he was still a PhD student. A very happy marriage, blessed with 2 sons and 1 daughter, which ended abruptly 23 years later when Jannie developed a fatal illness. Several years later he was fortunate to find new happiness with Marita Langeslag, with whom he moved back to his birthplace, Heerlen, after his retirement from the TUe.

Hiss loss is particularly hard felt by EMAS being one of the founding fathers of the Society: Having attended the American MAS meetings, he saw great benefits in developing a similar society on this side of the Atlantic. In 2001 he agreed to take on the role of President of the Society, a post he held for the next 4 years. In recognition of his contributions to the Society he was elected an Honorary Member in 2005 at the EMAS Workshop in Florence.

Those who knew Giel personally will forever remember his calm and deliberate nature, and his critical approach to all and everything. For example, if measurement results were too close to the predicted values, he would send the scientist back to repeat the measurements. While working with Giel was quite a blessing, traveling with Giel was often a nightmare. When traveling from his holiday address in France to an EMSA meeting in the USA, he ended up with 48 hours delay because of technical problems with the aircraft in France, and bad weather in the USA. Consequently, he did not attend the award ceremony, at which he was to receive the prestigious Birks Award from MAS. There was another occasion on a flight from Luton (UK) back to the Netherlands, where the pilot announced halfway over the North Sea that the flight would have to turn back to Luton as they had forgotten to load all the passengers’ luggage.

In August 2014 Giel Bastin was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; a killer disease that is generally lethal as it tends to spread before it can be diagnosed. Giel is survived by his second wife, three children and eight grandchildren. His funeral took place on Saturday 31 January 2015, a solemn event that was well attended, including a good delegation of friends from his long TUe period.

Looking back at his life, Giel never considered the quantification procedures that he had developed his main legacy to the scientific community. According to Giel, models and equations are transient things, which inevitably sooner or later become obsolete when better models are developed. But his huge database of very accurate measurements will always resist the teeth of time, and will be of great value to the microanalysis community for eternity.

The microanalysis community in general and EMAS in particular has lost a great scientist, mentor and friend.

Hans Dijkstra, February 2015

EMAS News 78, March 2015