October Webcast: “Digging Up the Bodies:  Debunking CSI and Other Forensics Myths”

On October 9, 2013, CHF will air the next episode of #HistChem, “Digging Up the Bodies: Debunking CSI and Other Forensics Myths.” This month’s guests are Anna Dhody, a physical and forensic anthropologist, and Lisa Rosner, a historian. Our guests will discuss forensics past and present and the chemistry that happens to the human body.

Here at CHF we want to address the “CSI effect,” which is caused by the simplification of forensics in popular culture. CSI and likeminded TV shows–with their heroic investigators solving crimes in mere minutes–mislead viewers and affect real court cases. The reality of investigation is much slower and more complex, but no less fascinating.

“Digging Up the Bodies: Debunking CSI and Other Forensics Myths” will air at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Watch the live webcast at

Guest Bios:

Anna Dhody is a physical and forensic anthropologist. She works at the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Ms. Dhody has curated many exhibits, including The Evolution of BirthReading the Dead: How Forensic Anthropologists Study Skeletons to Solve Mysteries and the Mütter Ossuary. Before joining the Mütter, she served as an osteologist at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.  In 2003 Ms. Dhody traveled to Peru to work with the United Nations Development Programme and the Public Ministry of Peru, identifying some of the estimated 69,000 desaparecidos, “the disappeared,” victims of state terrorism. 

Lisa Rosner is Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program at Stockton College in New Jersey. Her most recent book is The Anatomy Murders:  Being the True and Spectacular History of Edinburgh’s Notorious Burke and Hare and of the Man of Science Who Abetted Them in the Commission of Their Most Heinous Crimes (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009). She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and CHF.

About the Show:

#HistChem is a monthly interactive live-streamed show produced by CHF. It features topically compelling issues that intersect science, history and culture. Hosts are Michal Meyer, editor of Chemical Heritage magazine, and Bob Kenworthy, a chemist who works at CHF. The first episode, “How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Zombie Apocalypse,” debuted in August, 2013.

About CHF:

CHF is a collections-based nonprofit organization that preserves the history and heritage of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences and technologies. The collections are used to create a body of original scholarship that illuminates chemistry’s role in shaping society. In bridging science with the humanities, arts, and social sciences, CHF is committed to building a vibrant, international community of scholars; creating a rich source of traditional and emerging media; expanding the reach of our museum; and engaging the broader society through inventive public events.



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