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Early forensics and crime-solving chemists - Deborah Blum

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In a CSI age, we take forensic science for granted. New York did not have a medical examiner or forensic toxicologist until 1918, whose eventual arrival changed the landscape of crime investigation forever. At TEDYouth 2012, Deborah Blum prompts the audience to solve crimes with chemistry.

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  • Educator Deborah Blum
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Deborah Blum is the author of The Poisoner's Handbook (2010, Penguin Press). She writes about chemistry and culture at the Wired science blog, Elemental, and teaches journalism the University of Wisconsin-Madison.CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (referred to as CSI, also known as CSI: Las Vegas) is an American crime drama television series, that premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is filmed primarily at Universal Studios in Universal City, California.Forensics is defined as the use of science and technology to investigate and establish facts in criminal or civil courts of law. Here is a list of all the forensics labs in the United States.Chemistry, a branch of physical science, is the study of the composition, properties and behavior of matter. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds. Chemistry is also concerned with the interactions between atoms (or groups of atoms) and various forms of energy (e.g. photochemical reactions, changes in phases of matter, separation of mixtures, properties of polymers, etc.).The Kalinka Affair: A Father’s Hunt for His Daughter’s Killer, by Joshua Hammer (review by Deborah Blum).Charles Norris (1867–1935) was New York's first appointed chief medical examiner (1918–1935) and was a pioneer of forensic toxicology in America. Alexander Oscar Gettler (1883-1968) was a toxicologist with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York (OCME) between 1918 and 1959, and the first forensic chemist to be employed in this capacity by a U.S. city.
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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Deborah Blum