As you know, I am not one for willingly turning down an opportunity to talk in front of an audience, so I was delighted to be asked to give a talk as part of the series of guest lectures run by the Sherlock Institute of Forensic Science India. I was following some great talks over the past few months, including Jason Payne James talking about the role of the forensic physician and Patrick Randolph-Quinney discussing issues in taphonomy. My presentation focused on the effect of…Continue Reading “A meme-orial to my career…”

One day, I will learn not to post a glib tweet about a TV show right before bed. But that day will not be anytime soon as we all know that I like the attention… When it comes to forensic science on TV shows, I’m usually pretty zen*. Like a leaf in the wind. I know that some artistic licence is needed because this is entertainment, and much forensic analysis is visually rather boring. And slow. I’ve even advised TV shows myself so that they…Continue Reading ““Do not touch the charred crotch””

Now I’ve done a fair bit of media work in the past (Shock! Academic known for being a bit of a show-off has history of being a bit of a show-off…) but nothing to the intensity of this past week. Our paper reinterpreting the context of death for victims of Vesuvius at Herculaneum has finally come out in the journal Antiquity. To be honest, this paper should have been out a year ago but it’s been a bit of a battle to get it finished….Continue Reading “BREAKING NEWS: Only I could make a 2000 year old volcanic eruption all about me…”

I don’t know if you realise this, but I’m a bit of a nerd. I hide it well, behind this cool exterior of senior management sophistication, but it’s there. Academically it focuses on studying people from their skeletons, and particularly their burned skeletons. I can remember exactly where my interest here began – in the library of the University of Bradford in the winter of 1998. I was in a dark corridor of shelving pouring over bound volumes of journals (now I’m really showing my…Continue Reading “Lets get ready to CRUMBEL!”

I presume that I’m not the only one who watched the start of episode 4 of this final season of Game of Thrones, and as the emotional memorial of the dead took place, and we said goodbye to some of our favourite heroes, turned to their partner and said solemnly, “Those are some efficient pyre constructions there”… As we know, I’m a big fan of GoT – I even use it in my teaching and take valuable leadership lessons from it (for example, I am…Continue Reading “A Song of Ice and Fire – but mainly fire…”

I’ve recently been interviewed by Chemical and Engineering News magazine, which is funny considering I’m neither a chemist nor an engineer. In fact, I’m likely to be fatally disastrous as either. Recently, a new burned bone paper came out in Analytical Chemistry (Mamede et al., ‘Potential of Bioapatite Hydroxyls for Research on Archeological Burned Bone’, Anal. Chem., 2018, 90 (19), pp 11556–11563). The paper explores the use of inelastic neutron scattering (INS) and FTIR-ATR to analyse burned bones and hopefully distinguish ancient burned bones from just ancient bones….Continue Reading “Incremental Growth”

The problem with having friends is that they invariably ask you to do things for them, and you can’t say no. This is one of the reasons why I generally try to avoid social connections – although I undermine my own principle here by being an absolute delight to be around… It was just such a request that took me to the docks in London… I’ve said before how much I enjoy visiting the Museum of London, and more so because I am good friends…Continue Reading “veni vidi vici”

This weekend there was an article on the BBC website about photographic student Harry Lloyd-Evans who photographs surgical implants that are recovered and recycled after cremation. On his website, Harry states that: “Implanted is a project which presents images of discarded surgical implants at the end of life. Most of the implants have been recovered following cremation, the exception being the pacemakers which are removed prior to cremation.” “On first viewing my images I found them unusual and strangely beautiful.  I decided to try to…Continue Reading “Implanting Art into the forensic sciences”

To my shame, I knew very little about the history of Cyprus before I went there earlier this month. I knew our military went there, and that British youth head there for debauched holidays, but that’s about it. When we got to Cyprus, and after my eyes had adjusted to that unusual bright thing in the sky in January, the first thing that surprised me was how British the place was. Three-pronged plugs, roundabouts, pelican crossings. Naturally our first thought was “Ahh, this is another…Continue Reading “Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus”

It seems a little churlish to criticise a programme for how realistic it’s dragons are, and yet here we are… First of all let me say that I love Game of Thrones. It’s dramatic, exciting and funny and the whole production is so good that I’ve even forgiven them for the under-use of the Sand Snakes. It also has something to offer those of us who are interested in teaching. I’ve used it as a basis for some of my Forensic Medicine lectures to explore…Continue Reading “Mother of Dragons vs Father of Pedants…”