The effect of the Foo Fighters on the human body and seismic activity

How does a rock concert affect the human body and how much seismic activity does such a concert produce? Not technically forensic science this one but interesting nonetheless for those of the population who attend rock gigs and are interested in seismology and medical issues. In terms of seismic activity, the answer is that a …

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Death. Destruction. Science. It’s a winner!

I am feeling very proud of myself because I have apparently just won ScienceTeller 2011’s Best Science Story Competition! I am very excited. I have never won anything before. Entry was open to submissions with a science, wildlife, natural history, health, travel or culture focus, the entries must have been completed on or after 1 …

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A (selection of) day(s) in the life of a forensic scientist

Lots of people ask me what it’s like on a day-to-day basis being a forensic scientist. If they catch me on a day when it’s been nothing but paperwork then they don’t get a very inspired answer. However, the past week has shown me once again how varied it can be. Take last week for …

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More questions for a forensic scientist to answer….

Carrying on again from Grant’s post: HappyEvilSlosh asked: I’ve heard that in forensics often the scientist knows the details of the case and what side of case they are finding evidence for. Is this actually the case and if so don’t you think it would be better, in terms of determining the facts instead of …

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Putting a price on the justice system

I have already mentioned that many other forensic scientists around the world think that the British government’s decision to close the Forensic Science Service (FSS) was poor – not least because of the loss of knowledge from senior scientists and the lack of them having the time to transfer that knowledge to younger scientists because …

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Challenging forensic science independence

Probably one of the worst decisions made by the British government was to shut down the Forensic Science Service (FSS) – in my opinion. Not only has a raft of experience been lost, a world-leading research organisation has been shut down. This is not news. What is news is that the Metropolitan Police is now …

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Emotion and personality in science

Following from an earlier post of mine Is there room for emotion in science, Victoria University is running its very first Tell Us A Story event. The website tells us that: This is not an ordinary science presentation event! The aim of this challenge is to woo the audience with stories of inspiration, passion, heart-ache, struggle, …

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Why it pays to check the work of the prosecution: the freeing of Amanda Knox

In one of the world’s most high-profile cases, Amanda Knox was today acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. I don’t have personal knowledge of the case but if the media reports are to be believed, inappropriate collection techniques and poor laboratory standards were contributory to the DNA results being deemed unreliable.  An extract from …

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Unanswered questions for Brent and David Tong

I apologise – I have neglected to answer questions about my book, Expert Witness, which was recently given away by Sciblogs and that Grant Jacobs reviewed.  Some more questions are as follows: Does forensic science only refer to science used for court cases, or are there other forms of investigation to which it pertains? Brent …

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Is there room for emotion in science?

Last night, I looked at Auckland city from a new perspective: the top floor of Auckland Museum.  Fantastic views of the 360-degree variety.  Aside from that, I was there for the Auckland SCANZ panel discussion. All the speakers were excellent but, being a geologist by training (and secretly still am, in my head), I was …

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