FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 24, 2012

The American Chemical Society and the American Statistical Association host Sept. 26 Capitol Hill briefing on forensics

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2012 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) Science & the Congress Project and the American Statistical Association (ASA) invite news media to attend a luncheon briefing on “Forensics: Science Policies to Increase Confidence.” The session will be held Wednesday, September 26, from noon to 1:30 p.m., in the Capitol Visitor Center, Senate Side, SVC-200/201. Please RSVP to http://tinyurl.com/ACSSciCongr-forensics.

The briefing is being co-hosted by the ACS Science & the Congress Project and the ASA.

On television and in movies, many forensic investigations of crime scenes are characterized as infallibly and consistently accurate. However, a 2009 report issued by the National Academy of Sciences stated that many forensic investigators are not scientifically trained, and many of the methods that are employed are not scientifically accurate. Areas for concern include work done by some medical examiners and forensic anthropologists, some fire investigations and even the analysis of fingerprints. In small cities and rural towns, where top research facilities may not be available, forensic studies are often conducted by staffs that lack sufficient training and/or equipment. This panel will discuss the following reform options: set research priorities for forensic standards, effectively train and certify a corps of analysts, and best inform and educate justice-system professionals on the proper use and presentation of forensic evidence to ensure consistency and fairness. The briefing will feature the following panelists in an open discussion:

Moderator: Anne-Marie Mazza, Ph.D., National Academies

Panelists:

  • Constantine Gatsonis, Ph.D., Brown University
  • John Lentini, Scientific Fire Analysis, LLC
  • Amy Mundorff, Ph.D., The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Randall Murch, Ph.D., Virginia Tech

The ACS Science & the Congress Project was established in 1995 to provide a neutral and credible source of scientific information targeted to policymakers on Capitol Hill. Expert speakers are chosen to provide a balanced presentation about the topic under discussion, and their comments are independent of any position that may be held by the ACS, the sponsors of ACS Science & the Congress or its co-hosts. For more information, visit www.acs.org/science_congress.

The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., the American Statistical Association is the world’s largest community of statisticians and the second-oldest continuously operating professional society in the United States. For more than 170 years, the ASA has supported excellence in the development, application and dissemination of statistical science through meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation and advocacy. Its members serve in industry, government and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare. For additional information about the American Statistical Association, please visit the ASA website at www.amstat.org or call (703) 684-1221.

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