Intermediate, My Dear Watson

The popularity of shows like “C.S.I.” and “Bones” proves that people everywhere are interested in forensic science. However, I think people in East Tennessee might be a little more interested than most. The Knoxville News Sentinel recently ran a multi-part series on unsolved crimes. The last two articles focused on investigative equipment and the scientists who speak for the dead. The latter story featured Dr. Murray Marks, who spoke to my FBI Citizens Academy class in October.

Dr. Al Hazari at Bone Zones party at Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge, TN Dr. Al Hazari, a chemistry professor at the University of Tennessee, brings forensics to a new group. For several years, he has run a summer forensic chemistry camp for middle school students. This year’s camp runs from June 14 to 18. It meets each afternoon from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. Online registration is available for $99. The fee includes educational materials and a daily snack, which was donated by Kroger. The syllabus lists fingerprinting, handwriting analysis, soil testing, ballistics, blood typing and testing counterfeit money among its topics.

Dr. Bill Bass, founder of the Body Farm, will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, June 15 at 1:30. He will present a 45-minute lecture and slide show on cremation. It will probably be similar to the lecture I saw in January, 2009, although obviously targeted toward middle-school scientists. The Bone Zones team informs me that the public is welcome to attend and to bring their Jefferson Bass books to be signed.

One of my fellow Body Farm enthusiasts contacted me on Facebook yesterday. She wanted me to help brainstorm a forensic-themed stage name she could use when auditioning for the Hard Knox Roller Girls. I thought of way too many. My favorites were Putrescine Cadaverine, Perri Mortem, Addy Pocere, Stryker Saw and Decay Andwhy.

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