FORENSICS: Science Solving Crimes
Forensics is the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime. In this series we will show how our personally unique bacteria, trace amounts of chemical substances and materials, and evidence of elder abuse are collected, evaluated and explained scientifically in a legal context. Actual cases will be discussed.
Tuesday, January 5: Bacterial Forensics. Forensic science involves analyzing information (evidence) to judge a criminal act in a court of law. Human microbiome is a term given to the multitude of bacteria and other microorganisms existing within and on every person from birth. It is possible everyone has a microbial fingerprint, and research is now being done, especially in the U.S., to determine the uniqueness and stability of the human microbiome. Progress in microbial forensics will be presented.
Presenter: Vern Roohk, Ph.D., Physiology and Biochemistry, Postdoc in Bioengineering, sole proprietor of BioCor Scientific consulting in Biomedical Devices, and OLLO Science Committee member.
Tuesday, January 12: Toxicology and Forensics. Forensic toxicology is the application of the medical science of pharmacology to legal cases. Dr. Spiehler will provide insight into how certain intoxicants can be scientifically characterized, their effects on behavior, and the communication to the lay public and lawyers in a legal environment. Many cases could not be solved without it. Dr. Spiehler will take us on a journey into the methods used to crack actual cases.
Presenter: Vina Spiehler, Ph.D., is a toxicology expert familiar with the detection of pharmaceuticals, alcohol and drugs in blood, hair, saliva, sweat, and other substances. Dr. Spiehler is the principal scientist of Spiehler and Associates, Newport Beach.
Class Presentation: What Is Forensic ToxicologyVRS
Tuesday, January 19: Keeping Elders Safe with Forensics. The elderly can be mistreated by the very people entrusted with their care. Often the abused cannot adequately communicate the circumstances or may forget the incidents. It is possible by careful examination of physical evidence to reveal the abuse and put an end to it. This class will be particularly helpful to those of us who have parents, friends, and relatives who may not be able to care for themselves.
Presenter: Kerry Burnight, Ph.D., UCI Health Sciences Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Program in Gerontology.
Class Presentation: Keeping Elders Safe with Forensics
Tuesday, January 26: Human Factors in Forensic Science. On TV, forensic scientists solve crimes with unerring accuracy. In reality, the National Academy of Sciences has criticized forensic scientists for failing to validate their methods, overstating their conclusions, and paying inadequate attention to the potential for bias and error. This class will examine these issues, paying particular attention to the role of human factors in the methods that crime laboratories use to evaluate physical evidence. We will also discuss the difficulties of communicating findings and the steps that the government is taking to improve the scientific foundations and quality of forensic science.
Presenter: William Thompson, Ph.D., J.D., UCI School of Social Ecology, Department of Criminology, Law, and Society.
Class Presentation: Human Factors in Forensic Science
NOTE: A companion course, SC 216, OC Forensic Science Lab Tour, will be offered on January 29 with a limit of 20.
Developer: Phil Friedel
Tuesdays, January 5, 12, 19 and 26
10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Location: Woodbridge Onken Classroom
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