Ludwig Niewöhner received the ENFSI Distinguished Forensic Scientist Award 2009.


Ludwig Niewöhner was born on 15-07-1957 in Harsewinkel, Germany, and started his occupational career in 1976 with an apprenticeship as an electrical technician. This was followed by studies in Applied Physics at the Westfälische Willhelms Universtität in Münster, Westphalia, where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Physics. In 1991 he received his Ph.D. as Dr.-Ing. in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Hanover, Germany. Subsequently he was appointed as head of the Department of Technology at the Laboratory of Information Technology in Hanover, where his responsibilities were semiconductor process technology and surface analysis.

It was in 1992 when Ludwig started his forensic career at the Forensic Science Institute of the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA, Germany), where his first areas of expertise were gunshot residues and electrically caused fires and deaths. In 2002 he was assigned head of the section KT23 –Gunshot Traces-, responsible for the investigation of gunshot traces including shooting distance determination and GSR analysis by SEM/EDX.

Ludwig has been a member of the ENFSI Expert Working Group Firearms/GSR since the 2nd Annual Meeting held in Magdeburg in 1995, and since 1999 he is a member of the EWG Firearms Steering Committee. He was, as a co-author, involved in the preparation of the Best Practice Manual (BPM) for GSR investigation, and responsible for the development of the “ENFSI Guide on GSR Analysis by SEM/EDX”.
From the very beginning, through his R & D work, he motivated the members of the EWG Firearms/GSR to promote ENFSI objectives. When the project work of the EWG Firearms was taking shape at the 6th Annual Meeting in Scheveningen, he was especially active in the development of a proficiency test for the detection and analysis of GSR particles by SEM/EDX. Drawing from the experience he gained during his previous occupation, Ludwig developed a special sample for GSR proficiency tests based on semiconductor process technology. The use of this artificial GSR sample made it possible to identify technical problems involving measuring equipment and to solve most of them. Many colleagues were now able to improve the effectiveness of their GSR analysis methods by considering their PT-results and the advice in system optimisation provided by him.
Until now up to 5 GSR proficiency tests have been performed, and today the GSR proficiency testing is conducted throughout the world by more than 90 participants. For most of these tests, Ludwig was successful in applying for co-financing by the European Union (OISIN, AGIS and ISEC programme). He has also carried out various EU projects on the chemometric evaluation of GSR particles from SEM/EDX analyses, in which the University of Freiburg/Saxony as well as ENFSI project partners from Cracow, Poland, Bratislava, Slovak Rep., and The Hague, Netherlands were involved.
Furthermore, Ludwig provides advice to ENFSI colleagues when they apply for EU funding and shares his experience in filling in the required application forms.

Because of Ludwig´s high reputation in the field of gunshot residue investigation he was invited to become a member of SWGGSR (in 2006); since 2007 he has been a member of ASTM International, sector committee E30 – Forensic Science, and in 2004 the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE), which has more than 2400 members worldwide, nominated him as an AFTE Technical Advisor for GSR. Over the past years he was invited to several forensic and non-forensic workshops and conferences e.g. at NIST (Gaithersburg, USA), IRMM (Geel, BE), EURACHEM (Rom, IT) and BAM (Berlin, DE) to give presentations on the topics „Forensic Proficiency Tests“ and „Synthetic Particle Standards“.


Key publications in the field of forensic science

  • Niewöhner L.; Wenz H.W.; „Applications of Focused Ion Beam Systems in GSR Investigation“; J.Forensic Sci 1999; 44(1): 105 – 109.
  • L. Niewoehner, H. W. Wenz, J. Andrasko, R. Beijer, L. Gunaratnam; “Report on the 2nd International Proficiency Test on identification of gun shot residue by scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive x-ray”; Proc. of SCANNING 2001, Scanning Vol. 23, 2 (2001).
  • Niewoehner L, Wenz W, Andrasko J, Beijer R, Gunaratnam L.; “ENFSI Proficiency Test Program on Identification of GSR by SEM/EDX”; J Forensic Sci 2003;48(4):786-792.
  • L. Niewoehner, S. Steffen; “Improved Methods for the Collection of Gunshot Residues (GSR) and for Chemographic Testing of Lead-Free Sintox™ Ammunition”; AFTE Journal – Spring 2003 152 Volume.
  • L. Niewoehner, M. Barth, C. Manthe, S. Steffen; “Improved Methods for the Collection of Gunshot Residues (GSR) and Their Confirmation by SEM/EDX”; Proceedings of SCANNING 2004, Scanning Vol. 26, 2 (2004).
  • Niewoehner L, Andrasko J, Biegstraaten J, Gunaratnam L, Steffen S, Uhlig S; “Maintenance of the ENFSI Proficiency Test Program on Identification of GSR by SEM/EDX (GSR2003)”; J Forensic Sci 2005; 50(4); Paper ID JFS2004454.
  • Niewoehner, L.; Buchholz N.; Merkel, J.; Eichner, S.; “NEW AMMUNITIONS FOR GERMAN POLICE FORCES”; Proceedings of SCANNING 2005, Scanning Vol. 27, 2 (2005).
  • Niewoehner L, Andrasko J, Biegstraaten J, Gunaratnam L; “Proficiency Testing Program of the ENFSI Working Group “Firearms” -Performance & Experiences”; Proceedings of the XX Congress of the Brazilian Society for Microscopy and Microanalysis CSBMM; Braz. J. morphol. Sci., supplement – 2005.
  • L. Haag, L. Niewöhner; “The Source and Persistance of Lead in Gun Barrels”;
  • AFTE Journal. Vol. 39; no. 1; 2007.
  • B. Knauthe, S. Steffen, M. Barth, L. Niewoehner and M. Otto; “Visualization of quality parameters for classification of spectra in shooting crimes”; J. Chemometrics 2007, 20 1–7.
  • S. Steffen, M. Otto, L. Niewoehner, M. Barth, Z. Brożek-Mucha, J. Biegstraaten, R. Horváth;
  • “Chemometric classification of gunshot residues based on energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis and inductively coupled plasma analysis with mass-spectrometric detection”; Spectrochimica Acta Part B 62 (2007) 1028–1036.
  • L. Niewöhner; J. Andrasko; J. Biegstraaten; L. Gunaratnam; S. Steffen; S. Uhlig; S.Antoni
  • “GSR2005—Continuity of the ENFSI Proficiency Test on Identification of GSR by SEM⁄EDX”; J Forensic Sci, January 2008, Vol. 53, No. 1.
  • L. Niewoehner; 6th EURACHEM Workshop on „Proficiency Testing in Analytical Chemistry“;
  • “Forensic PT: The ENFSI Proficiency Testing Programme on Identification of Gunshot Residue Particles by SEM/EDX”; Rome, 5 – 7. October, 2008.
  • John McCullough, Ruediger Schumacher, L. Niewoehner; “A European Study on the Prevalence of GSR in Random Population and Selected Professional Groups”;
  • Proceedings of SCANNING 2009, Scanning Vol. 30(2); (2009).