Forensic Science, the stuff of TV shows

During human progress, every science is evolved out of its corresponding art.  Herbert Spencer, British Philosopher and Sociologist

Of all the fields of analytical chemistry, Forensic Science is the only one to be regularly featured on TV shows. If in the past, television detectives solved mysteries by observation, these days, they head to the lab and talk to chemists. I recently watched a documentary on Public Television on the history of Forensics, “the Poisoner’s Handbook”. The story is based on a book of the same title by Deborah Blum, which tells of the development of Forensic Science in the 20’s and 30’s in New York City under the watch of Charles Norris, a physician and Alexander Gettler, a chemist. The series is a succession of murderous and accidental poisoning cases, and how they were solved by the use of analytical testing – fascinating stories.

Forensics has always been a prominent feature of the EAS program. We are fortunate to count the New Jersey Association of Forensic Scientists (NJAFS) as one of our sponsoring organizations and, every year, they advise the program committee on topics of interest to the Forensic community. Their sessions are a must for professionals and students in the field. For the rest of us, it’s a little like watching TV, at once grisly and entertaining!

Anne-Françoise Aubry