So, I’m a terrible person. Hilarious, but terrible. I was in the kitchen last week and saw the remnants of my youngest’s birthday cake (made by the uber-talented Becky Gowland) and I couldn’t help but notice how it looked a bit like a slice through bone. Obviously my next thought was to take a picture and put it on Twitter to see if I could trick everyone and thus make myself feel smarter than the masses. And then it took off a bit too much…Continue Reading “This is the way – Baby Yoda and the power of the Force (on decision-making)”

Just because it’s sunny here, doesn’t mean that I’m not working hard! At the start of this year’s AAFS, I attended a day-long workshop called High-Impact Practices in Forensic Science Education. It was Chaired by Gina Londino-Smolar and Dr Karen S. Scott and was supported by the Council of Forensic Science Educators.  The main aim was for attendees to: “learn how high-impact practices can be used in forensic science education and discover how to adapt their courses using common programing for students by: (1) identifying…Continue Reading “What are High-Impact teaching practices?”

When my twelve year old called me a nerd recently, I pointed out that ‘nerd’ pays the bills. And then pointed out that he was an even bigger nerd than I was. And then we laughed, high-fived and went to do our respective homework because that’s how we roll. Clearly, he’s not wrong. And gaming is where he usually points this out to me. The resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons, the fact that Warhammer is now worth over £1 billion, and that tabletop gaming generally…Continue Reading “Choose your own adventures…”

Now this may come as a surprise to many of you, and indeed those of a nervous disposition should sit down for this, but I am not perfect. And neither is my teaching. Sometimes my enthusiasm and personal interests get the better of me, and we end up going way off point in class. Thankfully we use a module evaluation process here which allows our students to go, “Tim, what the hell..?”. One of the comments I got last year, from a few students and…Continue Reading “Forensic Science and Climate Change”

I quite like this time of the academic calendar. I’m usually not long back from leave and although I’m always disappointed that the School hasn’t ground to a halt in my absence, my mind starts to turn to the next semester’s teaching. As you can probably tell, I really enjoy my teaching. I can’t confirm that my students feel the same way, but I’m an AD so they can’t stop me! I pretty much only teach in Semester 1 now, but I have been doing…Continue Reading “Inspiration Station”

As someone who teaches, I spend the summer recharging my batteries to get ready for the next academic year. As someone who has responsibility for people who teach, I spend the summer wondering why more people aren’t preparing teaching material for the next academic year! It’s very stressful being me… Anyway, I guess what I should be doing is seeing if I can make such prep easier.  Which is what I’ve done! You’re very welcome… When our new team took over the editorial roles of…Continue Reading “A new forensic teaching resource: JFLM Commentaries”

Earlier this year I wrote a bit about the forensic aspects of Kenneth Branagh’s version of Murder on the Orient Express, a film which I really enjoyed. Since the BBC’s recent version of The ABC Murders with Poirot over Xmas seemed to be so divisive, I thought I’d wade in again. So here’s my hot take, as they say… For me, this wasn’t really a three-part murder mystery, but rather an interesting exploration of how one can change. The grisly murders (and they were spectacularly…Continue Reading “Easy as ABC…”

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”

So, I almost knocked over both Emily Thornberry and Floella Benjamin in one day… Forensic science is in a challenging place at the moment. The well-publicised closure of the national Forensic Science Service and the rapid marketisation of forensic provision has left the sector a little winded. Combined with the complexity of contracting out forensic services, the increasing demands associated with ISO accreditation, the budgetary cuts, the fragmentation of research and so on, it is little wonder that the criminal justice system and the public…Continue Reading “House of Lords Science & Technology Committee – Inquiry into Forensic Science”

I’ve been looking forward to getting back into the classroom again. For all the peace and quiet of the summer period, there’s nothing like the hustle and bustle of the first few weeks of a new academic year to get you excited for the possibilities ahead. So I was very pleased to see that I’d be starting the first morning of the first day of the first week back with my new final year forensic students. One thing that often surprises people is that an…Continue Reading “Back into the classroom…”