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Forensic Sciences
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Forensic Science: The Crime Fighter's Weapon

Historical overview of crime science and how forensic science is used in criminal investigations in preparing for court testimony.
1997; 1996
Ivy (By Request)

Dead Men's Tales [electronic resource]

Uses archaeological, forensic and historical methods to learn about the Jamestown Colony, mummies found in the Xinjiang Province of China, the truth to the legend of Wild Bill Longley, the burials and lives of the people who built the pyramids, and the evacuation of a 13th century palace in South Africa.
2005; 2001

Forensics [electronic resource]

In this episode, Dr. Michael Taylor of ESR, a government-owned New Zealand Crown Research Institute, gives host John Watt a crash course in forensic science and explains his own field of expertise: back spatter analysis. Nardia Foote is a grad student who works with Michael to better understand the process of back spatter relating to cranial gunshots. John catches up with Nardia at a firing range where she's set up an experiment to see precisely what happens when a head is shot with different caliber firearms. Using several different guns, some molded gelatin and plastic casing to simulate a head, and a high-speed camera, Nardia sets to work simulating her very own crime scene.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Scott Fraser - Why Eyewitnesses Get It Wrong

Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser studies how humans remember crimes - and bear witness to them. In this powerful TEDTalk, which focuses on a deadly shooting at sunset, he suggests that even close-up eyewitnesses to a crime can create "memories" they could not have seen. Why? Because the brain abhors a vacuum.

Of Dolls and Murder [electronic resource]

Of Dolls and Murder explores a haunting collection of dollhouse crime scenes and our universal fascination with murder. The documentary film explores the dioramas, the woman who created them, and their relationship to modern day forensics. From the iconic CSI television show to the Body Farm and criminally minded college students and a crime fighting granny, legendary filmmaker and true crime aficionado, John Waters narrates the tiny world of big time murder.

The Future of Crime Prevention [electronic resource]

Modern criminal investigations rely heavily on technology. Fingerprint databases, crime scene reenactments, and DNA testing are all part of almost every investigation. This film looks at how scientists reconstruct the whole life of an unknown corpse; how computers can solve deaths that happened thousands of years ago; and how genetic fingerprints can become a faulty source in murder trials?

Physicists Help Solve Cold Cases [electronic resource]

Accelerator measurements of tooth fragments help detectives identify remains.

Modern Marvels: Forensic Science - the Crime Fighter's Weapon [electronic resource]

This program traces the development of forensic science from its infancy to today as agents and investigators demonstrate powerful crime-solving tools such as DNA "fingerprinting" and fiber science and revisit notorious cases, from the ballistic evidence that led to the conviction of James Earl Ray to the tiny clues that put investigators of the Lockerbie disaster on the trail of Libyan terrorists.

Home Is Where the Heart Lies [electronic resource]

The fact is that most offenders do not travel very far to commit their crimes, says Professor David Canter. "Like you and me, their home is where their heart lies." In this program, Canter makes his point through the case of British TV personality Jill Dando, who was murdered on her doorstep by a man who lived just a few streets away; the Railway Rapists, a pair of men who raped and, in two cases, murdered their way up and down a rail line that passed by perpetrator John Duffy's dwelling; and Jack the Ripper, who terrorized London's East End and probably resided there. A look at the Soho cholera epidemic of 1854, which was brought under control through the geographical mapping of Dr. John Snow, is also included.

Crime and Motion [electronic resource]

In 1981, Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper) was convicted of killing 13 women and assaulting seven others. In 1994, Scottish serial killer Robert Black was convicted of abducting and murdering three girls. In 1996, Welsh serial killer Peter Moore (the Man in Black) was convicted of torturing and murdering four men. In this program, Professor David Canter examines serial murder involving travel near and far while explaining how the application of geographical profiling helped-or could have helped-bring these perpetrators to justice sooner rather than later.

Moving Targets [electronic resource]

Like any predatory animal, a serial criminal defines a territory through the predatory logic that guides his hunting. In this program, Professor David Canter illustrates the complexities of running a human predator to ground through three cases. The first, which occurred in Las Vegas, focuses on a teenager who was arrested for committing a crime spree that combined murderous assault, rape, and robbery; the second, which occurred in Canada, focuses on 36-year-old Garrett Young, who abducted prostitutes in St. John's, Newfoundland, and then raped, beat, and left them for dead in a rural area outside of the city; and the third, which occurred in Bath, England, focuses on a perpetrator dubbed the Batman Rapist, who struck at least 14 times.

Black Holes and Spider Webs [electronic resource]

Not all serial killers travel to commit their crimes; some lure their victims to their lair, where they are silenced forever. In this program, Professor David Canter uses the case of Fred and Rosemary West-a British husband/wife duo who cleverly concealed the bodies of no fewer than 13 girls and young women they tortured, sexually abused, and murdered-to explain how a black hole-like absence of victim bodies can itself provide insights into the whereabouts of a predator. The case of the Belgian serial killer and child pornographer Marc Dutroux is also exhibited, showing how a wide cluster of black holes can indicate the presence of a multi-person, web-like crime network.

Marauders and Commuters [electronic resource]

In the world of criminal investigation, a marauder is a serial predator who works from a centrally placed home base. A commuter, on the other hand, is one who travels to a locale in search of victims. What happens when commuting and marauding are combined? In this program, Professor David Canter compares and contrasts two commuter-marauders who perpetrated homicidal assaults on women: Frenchman Jacques Plumain (the Phantom), who marauded in Strasbourg, crossed the border into the German town of Kehl, and marauded some more, and Birmingham resident Adrian Babb, who crossed a highway into a different Birmingham neighborhood to commit his crimes.

Virtual Crime and the Future [electronic resource]

In the 21st century, "we are all becoming that other, parallel world of electronic records, databases, video films, and computer memories," says Professor David Canter. "Criminals who would've been hidden in the past are also becoming visible in this virtual world-provided we know how to look for them." In this program, Canter addresses the use of data mining to track the virtual and real-world movements of criminals. Case studies include the following: Simon Wadland of Northamptonshire, who, using only his telephone, terrified 11 women into mutilating themselves and was snared by his phone records; Londoner Edgar Pearce (the Mardi Gra Bomber), a terroristic extortionist who was tripped up through a sting involving a huge surveillance campaign; and Gary Ridgway (the Gree [...]

Aggression [electronic resource]: Is Violence Learned?

Do children who watch violent TV shows become violent themselves, or is anyone from any background capable of murder? This program explores two theories of extreme aggression: that it is learned from media and other elements of one's social environment, and that it can be induced by the command of authority figures. Research into violence is illustrated using Milgram's conformity experiments, Hannah Arendt's ideas about "the banality of evil" in Nazi concentration camps, the Columbine shootings, and the tragic case of James Bulger, a toddler who was murdered in 1993 by two 10-year-olds from abusive households.

CIA Secret Experiments [electronic resource]: History's Secrets

On November 28, 1953, a U.S. Army scientist working on biological weapons, Dr. Frank Olson, falls to his death from his hotel window under suspicious circumstances. On June 5, 1968, at a public event, Sirhan Sirhan fires eight rounds from a .22 caliber revolver into Robert Kennedy, striking him dead. Yet after arrest, Sirhan claims he has no memory of the crime - even hypnosis fails to stir his memory. In 1975, the U.S. government offers Olson's family a

Forensic Firsts [electronic resource]

This A&E Special traces the origins of four critical weapons in the war against crime: ballistics, trace evidence, polygraph tests, and psychological profiling. Stories of headline-making crimes such as the "Mad Bomber" investigation in New York during the 1950s help show how these techniques were developed and refined, while dramatic reenactments introduce viewers to innovators like Calvin Goddard, the father of modern ballistics, and Leonard Keeler, the designer of the portable polygraph machine.

Painting Forensics [electronic resource]

After a private collector noticed a mysterious face appearing in the middle of a classic Australian painting, art restorers realized it was going to take all the tools of modern science to figure out what to do about it. Follow art historians and restoration specialists in this video clip as they work out what to do with the ghostly plumed lady hidden by layers of paint before it's again fit for public exhibition. Did the artist, Charles Conder, paint over an old canvas? Did he change his mind half way through painting this impressionist landscape? Or, did an art restorer conceal the figure for nefarious reasons?

Drug Forensics [electronic resource]

Tons of illicit drugs are seized on Australian shores annually. In this video clip, see how the Australian Measurement Institute and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are working with the Australian Federal Police to implement a newly developed plan to determine where cocaine and heroin are coming from by tracing their chemical fingerprints. Hear how scientists can now analyze a number of chemical signatures and find out in what country a particular type of cocaine originated and on what valley in South America it was actually grown.

Scene of the Crime [electronic resource]

This episode of Inside Story takes us into grisly murder mysteries, which can be solved with help from the Crime Lab. This agency is tasked with photographing every detail of a crime scenes finding fingerprints, sketching, and gathering physical evidence. Their jobs must be completed flawlessly and quickly, gathering untainted evidence before the scene is again opened to the public.