2015-16: Forensics: Tutorial on Forensics: August 27-29, 2015


This workshop was held at SAMSI in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.


Forensic science draws on the traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, materials science, biology, psychology, etc. Forensics practices in crime labs, define tasks in terms of types of evidence: DNA, fingerprint, face images, tool marks, etc. Forensic practitioners (e.g., come lab directors) set priorities based on types of evidence. Forensic scientists identify pitfalls in evidence examination and interpretation based on the technologies of their disciplines. Statistics, applied and computational mathematics identify research areas that cut across both of these classifications of challenges in examination of evidence.

This workshop aimed to:
(1) introduce participants at all levels (from graduate students, to postdocs, to junior and senior faculty in academic institutions) and all mathematical backgrounds (statistics, applied mathematics, computation and computing/information technology) to current state-of-the-art forensic science and point out the need for research in statistical methods for pattern evidence,
(2) create a forum for generation and discussion of ideas for tackling the challenges in placing forensic science on a sound statistical/applied mathematical foundation, and
(3) provide the necessary background for participation in the 2015-2016 SAMSI program.

Questions: email forensics@samsi.info

Forensics Program – Opening Workshop

Schedule and Supporting Media

Participant List – Forensics Tutorials
Speaker Abstracts

Thursday, August 27, 2015
What is Forensic Science?

Time Description Speaker Slides Videos
8:30-9:00 Registration
9:00 What is Forensic Science? — A USMC Methodology for Amplification Bill Tobin, Forensic Engineering International    
10:00 What Does the Law Say about Scientific Evidence used in Court and how do the Courts Interpret it? Bill Tobin, Forensic Engineering International    
11:00-11:30 Break
11:30 The Practice of Firearm/Toolmarks and a Reasonable Path Forward Cliff Spiegelman, Texas A&M University    
12:30 Lunch
2:30 Lab: Crime Lab
Gathering Evidence at a Mock Crime Scene; Sample Reports and Evidence that go to Crime Labs are Provided to Participants
Andy Parker, CCBI
4:45 Wrap-up and Summary

Friday, August 28, 2015
What Is Pattern Evidence?

Time Description Speaker Slides Videos
9:00-10:00 What is Pattern Evidence? Cedric Neumann, South Dakota State University  
10:00-10:30 Break
10:30-11:30 Bitemark Analysis Herbert David Sheets, Canisius College and University at Buffalo    
11:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:15 Lab: Pattern Evidence
Marking up Fingerprints, Shoe Prints, etc. and Making Comparisons
3:15 Wrap-up and Summary

Saturday, August 29, 2015
How Should Evidence be Presented in Court?

Time Description Speaker Slides Videos
9:00-10:00 Presenting Evidence to Be Relevant, Correct and Convincing Cedric Neumann, South Dakota State University  
10:00 Break
10:30-11:30 Human Factors in Forensic Science Sandy Zabell, Northwestern University  
11:30-1:00 Lunch
1:00 Lab: Bias
Conducting a Mock Bias Experiment and Practicing Presentation of Evidence
3:15 Wrap-up and Summary
3:30 Adjourn