A couple of weeks ago, the University ran it’s annual conference on Learning & Teaching Enhancement. It’s a great event, where staff and students can showcase some of the great work and innovations that they’ve been implementing during the year. This year, for the first time, the organisers had arranged for a few ‘Provocation’ sessions on a range of L&T subjects. Including one on the linkages between research and teaching. Now, I’m not one to shy away from being provocative and like to shake the…Continue Reading “Finding the line between controversy and getting fired…”

[serious spoilers ahead, natch]   Baby Driver is a fast, funny and relentlessly entertaining film by Edgar Wright about a young getaway driver who just wants to drive off into the sunset with his girl. Its joyous fusion of music and onscreen action and carnage (no pun intended… well, maybe a little…) is also smart and inventively clever. Seriously, you should go and see it. Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite: But as with many movies about crime, the spectre of forensic science looms…Continue Reading “‘Baby Driver’ – a film about getaway driving with forensic science in the engine…”

The Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences has been working hard in recent years to improve the standing of forensic science research. A few months ago they ran a free day event for early career researchers on getting published, they have been working to support a coordinated approach to undergraduate research projects, and continue to support their peer-reviewed academic journal, Science & Justice.  One of the other things the Council has been trying to do, for a number of years actually, is get forensic sciences recognised…Continue Reading “Forensic Science and the forthcoming REF”

Working with my excellent ex-PhD student, Dr Sarah Ellingham (who, I’m proud and delighted to say, now works for the ICRC), we’ve put out a paper which presents a quick and affordable way of determining whether bone has been burned by using an SEM. One of the problems with the march of science, is that said science can be expensive to do, and therefore limits the countries and contexts in which is can be used. This is something that I’ve discussed before as a limiting…Continue Reading “It’s all SEM-antics, really…”

Well, it’s been four months since I made the move to, what I’ve since been told, is the dark side… I call it senior management, but apparently this is the same thing. Mind you, if it means I get access to a giant space-based laser weapon of unimaginable power, then I’m all for it… If you hadn’t heard, I applied for and was offered the post of Associated Dean (Learning & Teaching) in the School – and it’s something that I’m very excited about. I…Continue Reading “Associate Dean”

Sometimes you agree to do things without properly thinking them through… And so it was that I ended up at the huge Barclaycard HQ over in Stockton talking about forensic stuff and then superheroes! It was all part of Working at Work Week, and I was delighted to have been asked to give a couple of talks. We had a great turn-out and the event went really well. Everyone at Barclaycard was super-lovely too. Of course, the live-streaming of my talk around the country was…Continue Reading “Barclaycard”

I was delighted to be asked to be a Keynote speaker on the opening day of Teesside University’s 2016 Festival of Learning – a week long event exploring different aspects to teaching and learning. My talk was on the interplay between teaching and research, and I decided to use my group’s excellent work in both areas to highlight the benefits of using research as a hook for teaching. I’ll get the full text up online soon, but it was wonderful to get such positive feedback…Continue Reading “Festival of Learning”

I’m very excited to say that The Analysis of Burned Human Remains, 2nd Edition, edited by Christopher W. Schmidt and Steven A. Symes, received an Honorable Mention in the Biomedicine and Neuroscience category at the recent PROSE awards. The PROSE Awards are an annual competition which seeks to recognise and award the very best in professional and scholarly publishing in books and journals. Not only is the book a fantastic addition to the growing publications in the field of cremation and burned bone studies, but chapter 18…Continue Reading “The Analysis of Burned Human Remains Wins PROSE Award”

Don’t you just love making new terms! I know I do! Partly we do it because we have egos that need massaging, but mainly it’ because we do cross-disciplinary work and when you’re working at that junction of subjects, sometimes there isn’t the language to help you. So, forensic ecogenomics. In essence we’ve been thinking about how forensic practitioners can tell if a grave has been used at all, if a body was once there and has since been moved, or perhaps how long the…Continue Reading “Forensic Ecogenomics”

I’m really pleased that the Second Edition of the extremely useful Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine is now out! And even more exciting is that I have four sections in it – all of them are in the ‘A’ section! I’ve whipped up a section on accreditation of forensic science with Brian Rankin, ancestral assessment of the skeleton with Popi Chrysostomou, animal attacks and marks on bones with David Errickson, and anthropological issues surrounding cremation. The book itself is huge and will no doubt be…Continue Reading “Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine (Second Edition)”