Real Forensic Science – past, present and future, a conversation with Prof Niamh NicDaeid, Prof Dame Sue Black and Val McDermid

Saturday 26 August 2017, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Real Forensic Science – past, present and future, a conversation with Prof Niamh NicDaeid, Prof Dame Sue Black and Val McDermid

Join us for a panel discussion of forensics, past present a future by two of the most eminent academics in the field and a crime-writer who takes pride in her portrayal of accuracy and scientific rigour in her best-selling books. 

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid is Professor of Forensic Science and Director of Research at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification.  She is also a Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, a £10million,10year project with the remit to disrupt the forensic science ecosystem. Most recently she established the Centre for Excellence for New Psychoactive Substances Research.   She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Chartered Society for Forensic Science.  She is a chartered chemist certified by the Royal Society of Chemistry and is authorised under the Scotland act as a forensic scientist. She is best known for her work in fire investigation as well as in the clandestine manufacture and characterisation of drugs of abuse. She is the current Vice Chair of the scientific advisory board of the International Criminal Court and is an advisor to the United Nations on aspects of New Psychoactive Substances. She is a past chair of the European fire and explosion investigation working group.  She has been awarded the Peter Ganci Award for services to fire investigation, the Brownfield Briefing award for scientific advancement and an ITech award for learning technology in Higher Education. She is also the recipient of a range of technology innovation awards.  She has recently been heard on BBC Radio 4’s the Life Scientific, Inside Science, the Curious case of Rutherford and Fry and Forensics in Crisis.

Professor Dame Sue Black is Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) at the University of Dundee. She is also a Director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science which was recently opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II.   She is best known for her work associated with war crimes investigations in Kosovo and her involvement in repatriating those who died following the Asian Tsunami.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and a fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. She is also the lifetime honorary professor of Anatomy for the Royal Scottish Academy.  In 2001 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to forensic anthropology in Kosovo. She has also been awarded the Lucy Mair Medal for humanitarian assistance, two police commendations, The Brian Cox award for public engagement, the Stephen Fry award for public engagement with science, the Fletcher of Saltoun award for contribution to Scottish life and culture and last year was one of the Saltire outstanding women of Scotland. In the Queen’s Birthday honours she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to forensic anthropology.  She is no stranger to TV, radio, magazines and newspapers and has appeared on programmes such as Desert Island discs, the Life Scientific, the Infinite Monkey Cage and a BBC2 series called History Cold case.
Val McDermid is known as the Queen of Crime. She’s a number one bestseller and has won many awards at home and abroad. She has published more than 40 books. Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages and sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Val has created many notable series characters such as journalist, Lindsay Gordon; private investigator, Kate Brannigan; the partnership of psychologist Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan; and, most recently, cold case detective Karen Pirie. The Hill/Jordan novels were adapted for the award-winning TV series Wire in the Blood, starring Robson Green. Val has honorary doctorates from Sunderland, Northumbria, Dundee and the Open University and is a Visiting Professor of Practice at Newcastle. She is also an honorary fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and in 2016 she captained a team of St Hilda’s alumnæ to win the Christmas University Challenge series. She is co-founder of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. McDermid  is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.  Val sponsors the McDermid Stand in Stark’s Park – Raith Rovers ground in Kirkcaldy. She eventually became a board member of the club, and starting in 2014 her website became Raith’s shirt sponsor. She is also the Honorary President of the Bowhill People’s Burns Club. A regular broadcaster on BBC radio, she represents Scotland on BBC Radio 4’s Round Britain Quiz. Her non-fiction book, Forensics: the Anatomy of Crime, won an Anthony Award for best non-fiction at the World Mystery Convention,
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