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‘It’s not CSI or Bones’: Honorary graduate dispels forensic anthropology myths


Robert Gordon University will play host this week to a world-leading expert in the field of forensic anthropology - the form of science often applied in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition.

Professor Sue Black OBE, who was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2003, and who has been recognised for her work in Disaster Victim Identification throughout the world, has been invited by the University's Life Sciences Society to deliver an open guest lecture at the St Andrew Street Building on Thursday (4 November) at 6pm.

Over 120 attendees comprising members of the public, the Scottish Police Service Authority and the North-east academic community have booked spaces at the lecture.

During her lecture, Professor Black will focus on the real world applications of forensic anthropology, such as its importance in the courtroom and in disaster zones. She will aim to broaden the audience's perception of forensic science and challenge the overly glamorised and sensationalised depictions found in contemporary media.

Sue Black is the Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, and is Director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification. She has worked for the International War Crimes Tribunal in Kosovo, the United Nations in Sierra Leone, and the UK government in Iraq and in Thailand following the 2004 tsunami, to help identify bodies that were decomposed, burned, mutilated or otherwise unrecognisable.

Professor Black said: "I am absolutely delighted to be able to give this lecture. Robert Gordon University very kindly awarded me an honorary degree in 2003 and I am ashamed to say that it has taken me rather a long time to pay back their kindness. I hope this lecture will go some way towards making amends."

In addition to social events for student members, the Robert Gordon University Life Sciences Society organises regular science-related guest speakers to come and speak at the University. These talks enhance the learning experience provided at the University for students and staff, as well as the public.

Marcus John White is the Chair for the Life Sciences Society. He said: "On behalf of the Life Sciences Society, I would like to say that it is an honour and privilege to have Professor Black speak at the University. Our aim as a society is to invite renowned experts in their field to the University to offer staff, students and members of the public opportunities to broaden their awareness of the science industry. Finally I'd like to thank our sponsors, Epic group, who run Aberdeen establishments, Prohibition, Pearl lounge, Monkey House, Priory and the Waterwheel inn."

Note for Editors

There will be an opportunity to photograph and interview Professor Sue Black at the St Andrew Street Building on Thursday 4 November at 3.30pm. Sue will be displaying an arrangement of skulls from the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences.

Members of the media should meet Communications Officer, Pauline Smith, at the main reception to the building upon arrival.

Tel: 01224 262389
Email: a.c.youngson@rgu.ac.uk, p.smith1@rgu.ac.uk