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Where Fact Meets Fiction: Forensic Science in Popular Culture

How scientifically accurate are TV crime shows, mystery novels and crime books? Renowned authors and forensic scientists will look at this subject as the eighth annual Forensic Science and Law Conference at Duquesne University continues on Friday, April 4.

Topics will include the art and science of criminal profiling, the responsibilities of depicting forensic science in fiction, Hollywood forensics and a panel discussion on Balancing Drama and Realism in the Cultural Depiction of Forensic Science.

Presenters will include such notables as:

  • Dr. D.P. Lyle, founder of the Writer’s Medical and Forensics Lab
  • Lee Goldberg, author, screenwriter and TV producer
  • Jon Jefferson, co-author of the Body Farm novels
  • Jan Burke, mystery author and founder of the Crime Lab Project
  • Andrew Wilder, writer for Criminal Minds, and James T. Clemente, writer and supervisory special agent with the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit.

The panel, which will be moderated by forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland, will include Gail Zimmerman, producer of 48 Hours Mysteries; Donna Gaffney, forensic nurse and consultant for Law and Order: SVU; Kelly Ann Martin, senior producer of Forensic Files; Michael Rieders, forensic toxicologist and laboratory director of NMS Labs; as well as other speakers from the previous sessions.

Additionally, Barnes & Noble at Duquesne will host an author fair from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m., providing an opportunity for attendees to talk with the authors and have books signed.

During the conference, which runs through Saturday, April 5, top authors, TV writers and forensic scientists will examine how they can learn from and contribute to teach other’s work. The conference, which is presented by the Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law and the Duquesne University School of Law in collaboration with the Pittsburgh 250 initiative, is open to crime and mystery readers, prime-time TV viewers and members of the public. Continuing education credits are available for attorneys, teachers and nurses.

Date: Friday, April 4

Time: 7:30 a.m., registration

8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., sessions and panels

12:15 to 1:30 p.m., author fair in the Barnes & Noble at Duquesne, located in the Power Center’s Forbes Avenue level

12:30 to 1:30 p.m., special presentation on The State of Forensic Science and Evidence Law in the People’s Republic of China by Baosheng Zhang, vice president of China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, given at the Duquesne University School of Law

Location: Power Center Ballroom, Fifth Level of the Power Center

Corner of Chatham Square and Forbes Avenue, Duquesne University

Information: For a complete program, visit www.duq.edu/factmeetsfiction or call 412.396.1330.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.