New York Microscopical Society Ernst Abbe Award

D. Peter R. De Forest is Professor Emeritus of Criminalistics at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York where he taught for 38 years. Prior to joining the faculty and helping to found the Forensic Science BS, MS, and Ph.D. Programs at John Jay and the City University of New York, he worked in several laboratories. He began his career in forensic science at the Ventura County Sheriff’s Crime Laboratory, Ventura, California in 1960. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree (1964) in Criminalistics and a Doctor of Criminology Degree in Criminalistics (1969) from the University of California at Berkeley, under Dr. Paul L. Kirk. Professor De Forest has followed in the steps of his mentors by combining a generalist approach with the highest rigor of scientific analysis.


In addition to his university teaching and research activities, for many years he has also served as a scientific consultant and expert witness for police departments, prosecutor’s offices, municipal law departments, public defender agencies, and private attorneys in criminal and civil casework in the US and Canada. The consultation has included advisory panel membership on major case investigations in the UK and Canada. He is the author or co-author of several book chapters, a textbook, and numerous articles in scientific journals. In addition to membership in several scientific societies, he served as a member of the editorial boards of journals including the Journal of Forensic Sciences. For over ten years, dating from the inception of the American Board of Criminalistics (ABC), Professor De Forest served as the chairman of ABC Examination Committee, which was responsible for designing and administering certification examinations in a range of forensic science specialties.

Professor De Forest has presented lectures and workshops for several professional societies and in other universities, which included being a Visiting Professor at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. In June 1977, Professor De Forest co-taught and helped organize a workshop with Dr. John A. Reffner on “Forensic Microscopy” sponsored by the Northeastern Association of Forensic Scientists (NEAFS) at the University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT) which has reached legendary status as one of the best workshops on microscopy.  During the fall 1997 semester he served as Exchange Professor with the National Crime Faculty at the Police Staff College, Bramshill, England and also delivered the Founders Lecture for the California Association of Criminalists (CAC). Dr. De Forest was a founding commissioner with the Forensic Science Education Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and was Criminalistics Section Chairman of the AAFS for 2006-2007. Awards received include the Paul L. Kirk Award of the Criminalistics Section of the AAFS (1999), the August Köhler Award of the State Microscopical Society of Illinois (2008), the Distinguished Faculty Award at the 50th Anniversary Alumni Reception of John Jay College of Criminal Justice (2015), the 2017 Distinguished Fellow Award of the AAFS (2017), and the Locard Award of the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (2017). He is an honorary life member of the NEAFS and the CAC.