News & Events

Dr. Peter Stout

Posted on January 23, 2015


Date - January 23, 2015
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Director of the Center for Forensic Sciences

“The Fragility of Justice: Why Forensic Science (and particularly chemistry) Matters to You”


Economists and common sense argue that objective and predictable functioning of judicial process are foundational to sustaining high functioning economies.  Companies and individuals invest in the U.S. because they believe that their rights will be objectively protected.  Often in cases, most of the evidence and support of the case is largely subjective and scientific evidence is the only objective component that stands to influence the outcome. Scientific evidence has become ever more central because of this. Our lasting infatuation with popular crime dramas such as CSI speaks to the broad but subtle understanding that people have to believe the system is objective and fair.

This talk will explore the less popularly understood nuances of what all is involved in “forensic science” and what are some of the challenges currently faced nationally.  Small molecule chemistry is particularly important in forensic evidence as it is related to controlled substance identification, toxicology and trace analysis. We will discuss chemistry’s involvement specifically.