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Profs and Pints DC presents: “CSI Then and Now,” with Dr. Victor Weedn, forensic pathologist, attorney, lecturer at George Washington University and the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and deputy medical examiner in the District of Columbia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Murder has been a crime throughout history and in all civilizations, and where there’s a crime, there’s a need to investigate the scene. Come let Victor Weedn, a leading expert on forensic science, walk you through the fascinating history of that field and teach you about its basic methods, current controversies, and future.
You’ll learn about the development of forensic medicine, of forensic toxicology, and the first crime labs. You’ll come to know the key figures who helped professionalize the field, and how the field has been changed by fingerprint examination, chemistry instrumentation, DNA instrumentation, computerized databases, and the attention drawn to it by the wildly popular CSI crime-show franchise.
Then you’ll get brought up to speed on the key controversies and debates in the field today, dealing with forensic fraud, hair analysis errors, bite-mark analysis, and misleading statements by forensic expert witnesses. Although there is much that the field is doing right, it continues to evolve, improve, and become more powerful, giving plenty of cause to end the talk on a hopeful note.
Dr. Weedn has a fascinating background that leaves him distinctly suited to deliver such a talk. He has worked as a medical examiner, crime laboratory director, and academic. He founded the military’s DNA identification program and oversaw the Armed Forces Identification Laboratory which identified Czar Nicholas II of Russia, the Branch Davidian victims, and later Michael Blassie, the Vietnam unknown in the National Cemetery in Arlington. He also has worked on mass graves in Iraq to develop evidence against Saddam Hussein, has been a leading advocate of the need for forensic science reform, and has been deeply involved in the federal response to the current opioid crisis.
Whether you’re a crime-show buff or just interested in the sciences or our own mortality, you’ll be glad to be alive to hear his presentation. (Advance tickets: $12. Door: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Image: Skulls found on the beach of Alaska’s Panuk Island. (Photo by Captain Budd Christman, NOAA Corps.)