That isn’t what I saw on TV

Institution: Carleton University
Category: Faculty of Public Affairs
Language: English

Course Description

Every day we can see forensic scientists on TV who work hard and solve crimes. Their science is never wrong! But real life forensic science doesn’t always match what we see on TV. It may come as a surprise, but forensic science is a leading factor that has been linked to wrongful conviction cases. Over five days, we will look at different areas that make up the field we call forensic science – fingerprints, hair analysis, and bite marks to name a few. And in doing so, we will consider the role that humans play in forensic science because these people make important decisions that can have very bad outcomes for innocent people. Through in-class activities and discussions, we will attempt to answer a variety of questions like: What is the role of forensic science and expert witnesses in criminal cases? What are the differences between junk science and forensic science? What makes something a junk science or a good science?
NOTE: this class may contain some material that is sensitive in nature as we will be talking about historical criminal cases (often involving violent crimes).