Connecting the Dots: The Science of CSI
March 16, 2017 - September 1, 2017| Free
High-profile murder cases and popular television programs such as CSI, Bones, and Forensics Files have brought the laboratory work of forensic scientists into mainstream popular culture. Visitors to Connecting the Dots will explore the history of several disciplines within forensic science: fingerprints, chemistry, biology, firearms, photography, and trace evidence.
Visitors will also discover two important courts cases, Frye v. United States in 1923 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals in 1993, which have shaped how courts admit forensic science as evidence. In Frye, the admissibility of a lie detector test was at issue; it was not allowed because deception tests, according to the D.C. Court of Appeals, had not yet gained general acceptance in the scientific community.
Courts used this “general acceptance” standard for the next 70 years until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Daubert (a lawsuit alleging the morning sickness drug Bendectin caused birth defects) that, in addition to general acceptance, a scientific theory or technique should be tested, subjected to peer review and publication, has a known or potential error rate, and has standards controlling its operation.
The East Gallery will be a staged, interactive crime scene where visitors will match fingerprints, analyze DNA, compare shell casings and fibers, and weigh the evidence to “solve” the crime.
This exhibition is made possible through funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Gridley Family Foundation.
Exhibition galleries and the William N. Deramus III Cosmology Theater are open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the Second Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission and parking are free for Library visitors.