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Forensic Science

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NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
AFTER YEARS of working in the public and private sectors of forensic science, Arthur Young, a forensic-biology specialist, realized that neither system was working. "We were sitting around saying no matter how you cut this pie, it's always bad," he said. "We thought maybe the solution was a different cut of the pie. " So, in 2010, Young and his partners founded Guardian Forensics, a small lab near Philadelphia that operates as a nonprofit agency. "We realized forensic science, which exists at the boundary of science and the law, that politics was being added into the equation, as if things weren't hard enough already," Young said.
NEWS
May 28, 2002 | By Katherine Ramsland
Skeletal remains found Wednesday morning in Washington's Rock Creek Park were identified as those of Chandra Levy, 24, a former government intern who disappeared on May 1, 2001. It's been 13 months. What can forensic scientists really tell us about her manner of death? Possibly, quite a lot. The investigation will proceed on two levels, one in the morgue and the other where she was found, and both parts will take into account her final known activities. It's not clear yet if she was murdered, but the case will nevertheless be treated as a potential crime.
NEWS
January 2, 2003 | By Hugh Hart FOR THE INQUIRER
"Dead men tell no tales," wrote the late American poet Haniel Long. He never saw CSI. The CBS series has become prime time's most watched show precisely because nowadays corpses generate all kinds of compelling stories, based on evidence left behind at the scene of the crime. Previously relegated in the popular imagination to walk-on roles, forensic scientists (and their trusty costar, DNA) have recently stepped out of the lab and into the limelight via more than a dozen TV series.
NEWS
August 29, 1995 | By Mark Davis, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Forensic science is not exact, and sometimes the only one who knows for sure what happened at a crime scene is the person who committed the offense, an expert in O.J. Simpson's murder trial testified yesterday. There's always room for error in reassembling what happened in a homicide, Henry Lee, a renowned scientist, said. That can include mistaking police officers' footprints for those left by a criminal, he acknowledged. And, he admitted to prosecutor Hank Goldberg, some facets of an investigation defy easy answers.
NEWS
August 9, 2001 | By Alicia A. Caldwell INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
For more than 20 years, many investigators from Bucks and Montgomery Counties have turned to one man to handle delicate forensic evidence. Montgomery County Sheriff John P. Durante is credited with helping find the smallest pieces of evidence - including the only remnant of a man's fingertips, almost completely sliced from his hands. These discoveries have often made the difference between solving a crime or adding it to a "cold," or unsolved, file in dozens of cases. "There is no doubt he is one of the best," Bensalem Township Police Capt.
NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
THE PHILADELPHIA Police Department's Forensic Sciences Bureau has grappled with its own backlog for years, but with renewed efforts and a new leader, the bureau was able to reduce it by a third within the past year. Michael Garvey Jr., who has worked for the FBI and CIA, is the first civilian head of the bureau and the only one to also be given the title of deputy managing director. Before him, high-level police officials were in charge. "It's a trend throughout forensic science to bring in folks that not only deal with running the administration portion of a forensic science entity, but can also understand and deal with all of the technical issues," he said.
NEWS
July 27, 2008 | By Amy Z. Quinn FOR THE INQUIRER
It's a gorgeous day outside Tucker House, an old residence converted into faculty offices on the bucolic, rolling campus of DeSales University in Lehigh County. But up a narrow and exceedingly creepy flight of wooden stairs, on the far side of the sun-dappled attic, Savannah's corpse is waiting to be discovered. The poor thing's been brutally murdered. Again. This time, she's sitting on a couch, face-down on the coffee table, an earring tossed aside, a bloodstain down the front of her blouse.
NEWS
January 1, 2004 | By Terry Bitman INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Nicole Guckin is having trouble flinging blood. Twice she flicks the glistening red bristles of a toothbrush, trying to create a splatter on thick white paper hanging on the wall inches in front of her. At the same time, Guckin, 15, is trying to be dexterous enough to prevent the blood (it is really dye, which stains even more) from oozing down her wrist and onto her sleeve. On the third try, some drops land, small and scattered, on the paper. But Guckin still isn't sure whether she has done it right.
NEWS
December 16, 2011 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like many children her age, Kym Willis, 14, is a big fan of television shows that revolve around crime-solving. Willis particularly likes Bones , about a forensic anthropologist, and Rizzoli and Isles , which follows a detective and a medical examiner on the job. In fact, Willis said, she might like to work as a medical examiner one day. "I want to do the autopsies," she said. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey hopes more students like Willis will translate their interest in crime shows into careers in forensic science when they enter college.
NEWS
January 30, 2011 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
With more than a dozen television shows featuring forensic science, lab work involving the deceased has become a fantasy career choice for many people. Haskell Askin's job certainly would have appealed to CSI and Forensic Files fans. Among his many high-profile cases, Dr. Askin identified 7-year-old Megan Kanka's bite mark on the man who had raped and killed her in 1994 in Hamilton Township, N.J., leading to Jesse Timmendequas' conviction and contributing to the passing of the state's Megan's Law. He also helped identify victims of massive tragedies: the 1985 MOVE bombing, the 1984 fire at Six Flags Great Adventure, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina.
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NEWS
August 18, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
Under the rapt stares of about 100 children and a statue of Benjamin Franklin, a staff member at the Franklin Institute poured liquid nitrogen into a bucket of water. A cloud mushroomed out over the sides and raced toward the youngsters. "Wow!" a chorus of surprised and delighted children squealed, reaching out to touch the indoor cloud. A few hundred more children scurried through the institute's famous heart and new brain exhibits Saturday, when the museum opened to more than 1,400 people free of charge.
NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
AFTER YEARS of working in the public and private sectors of forensic science, Arthur Young, a forensic-biology specialist, realized that neither system was working. "We were sitting around saying no matter how you cut this pie, it's always bad," he said. "We thought maybe the solution was a different cut of the pie. " So, in 2010, Young and his partners founded Guardian Forensics, a small lab near Philadelphia that operates as a nonprofit agency. "We realized forensic science, which exists at the boundary of science and the law, that politics was being added into the equation, as if things weren't hard enough already," Young said.
NEWS
February 15, 2012 | BY STEPHANIE FARR, farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
THE PHILADELPHIA Police Department's Forensic Sciences Bureau has grappled with its own backlog for years, but with renewed efforts and a new leader, the bureau was able to reduce it by a third within the past year. Michael Garvey Jr., who has worked for the FBI and CIA, is the first civilian head of the bureau and the only one to also be given the title of deputy managing director. Before him, high-level police officials were in charge. "It's a trend throughout forensic science to bring in folks that not only deal with running the administration portion of a forensic science entity, but can also understand and deal with all of the technical issues," he said.
NEWS
December 16, 2011 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like many children her age, Kym Willis, 14, is a big fan of television shows that revolve around crime-solving. Willis particularly likes Bones , about a forensic anthropologist, and Rizzoli and Isles , which follows a detective and a medical examiner on the job. In fact, Willis said, she might like to work as a medical examiner one day. "I want to do the autopsies," she said. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey hopes more students like Willis will translate their interest in crime shows into careers in forensic science when they enter college.
BUSINESS
August 4, 2011 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
SunGard Data Systems is a Fortune 500 company with 20,000 employees and $5 billion in annual revenue. But for a group from Teen Tech Camp visiting its Broad Street data center Tuesday, the number that really stuck may have been one that tour guide Wayne Martin revealed after asking the 10 campers to guess the facility's monthly electric bill. "Maybe $5,000?" one ventured. "How about $10,000?" another asked. Eyes widened at Martin's answer: $500,000, largely to keep the site's thousands of servers and network and storage devices running round the clock for clients that rely on SunGard for "mission-critical" aspects of corporate data management, including the disaster-recovery services the company pioneered three decades ago, when it was spun off by Sun Oil Co. "I'm impressed by how much power they use," said Zamir Brown, 15, a ninth grader at Philadelphia's World Communications Charter School who is plainly well-suited to the camp's T-shirt logo: "Techie in training.
NEWS
January 30, 2011 | By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer
With more than a dozen television shows featuring forensic science, lab work involving the deceased has become a fantasy career choice for many people. Haskell Askin's job certainly would have appealed to CSI and Forensic Files fans. Among his many high-profile cases, Dr. Askin identified 7-year-old Megan Kanka's bite mark on the man who had raped and killed her in 1994 in Hamilton Township, N.J., leading to Jesse Timmendequas' conviction and contributing to the passing of the state's Megan's Law. He also helped identify victims of massive tragedies: the 1985 MOVE bombing, the 1984 fire at Six Flags Great Adventure, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina.
NEWS
July 27, 2008 | By Amy Z. Quinn FOR THE INQUIRER
It's a gorgeous day outside Tucker House, an old residence converted into faculty offices on the bucolic, rolling campus of DeSales University in Lehigh County. But up a narrow and exceedingly creepy flight of wooden stairs, on the far side of the sun-dappled attic, Savannah's corpse is waiting to be discovered. The poor thing's been brutally murdered. Again. This time, she's sitting on a couch, face-down on the coffee table, an earring tossed aside, a bloodstain down the front of her blouse.
NEWS
February 25, 2007 | By Rusty Pray INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Imagine attending a high school class where you didn't have to worry about getting caught chewing gum, or raise your hand to go to the bathroom, or even bother to change out of your PJs. Welcome to Camden County Virtual Academy, a pilot program started last month by the Camden County Technology Committee that offers online courses to sixth through 12th graders. "I think it's going really well," said Patty Null, the director of the Camden County Technology Committee, who is in charge of the project.
NEWS
January 14, 2006 | By Christine Schiavo INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Karen Howard took a crucial bit of evidence with her and left another piece behind after killing a South Jersey man in a hit-and-run accident on Interstate 76 in 1998. A lens fragment found at the scene fit like a jigsaw puzzle piece into the cracked headlight of the Ford Explorer driven by Howard, wife of a former Philadelphia Eagles executive. And tissue from the body of Robert R. Hoagland 2d, 29, of Atco, remained on the undercarriage after the Explorer had been washed, said the state police sergeant who investigated the accident.
NEWS
May 20, 2005 | By Wendy Ruderman INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Prosecutors call it the CSI effect. More and more, they say, jurors' views of evidence are shaped by fictional programs in which crimes are solved with DNA and high-tech gizmos. Jurors not only want prosecutors to deliver hard evidence, they expect it. But, as any prosecutor will tell you, many cases are built solely on circumstantial evidence, including witness accounts. One such case is playing out in Gloucester County, where the prosecutor chose to tackle the CSI effect head on from the start.
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