Forensics Expert to Deliver Sigma Xi Lecture on Nov. 5

October 14, 2009

Media Contact:
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037

MACON — Dr. Stephen L. Morgan, an expert in forensic chemistry, will give the Fourth Annual Sigma Xi Distinguished Science Lecture at Mercer University on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Morgan’s lecture is titled “Forensic Analytical Chemistry: Basic Research behind CSI.” The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the auditorium of the Science and Engineering Building on the University’s Macon campus.

There will be a reception in the lobby preceding the lecture in the Science and Engineering Building at 6 p.m.

“We believe Dr. Morgan’s work and lecture on the basic chemistry behind the CSI forensics will be of great interest to the entire Mercer community,” said Dr. Hodge Jenkins, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Dr. Morgan, a professor in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, will speak about the so-called “CSI effect,” arising from depictions of infallible analyses, instant laboratory results and unambiguous computer matching of profiles that has fostered unrealistic expectations in the minds of the general public. His lecture will highlight the current state of the art in forensic analytical chemistry and how it differs and, in some cases, matches this fantasy world of chemical detectives.

Dr. Morgan will discuss various forensic applications including chemical analysis of latent prints, detection of biological fluids at crime scenes, the statistics of DNA analysis and trace evidence analysis including fibers, hairs, bullet lead, and other polymeric materials. He contends that although tremendous advances have been made, getting reliable and validated results that hold up in court still requires a solid foundation in the relevant science, appropriate sample handling, careful laboratory technique and good statistical practices.

Dr. Morgan’s research interests include forensic analytical chemistry, chemometrics and polymer analysis.  He has co-authored more than 125 publications and four books, including Experimental Design: A Chemometric Approach (1993) and Sequential Simplex Optimization for Quality and Productivity in Research, Development, and Manufacturing (1991) and has taught more than 550 short courses on experimental design and statistics for the American Chemical Society. Dr. Morgan earned a B.S in chemistry from Duke University and his master’s and Ph.D. from Emory University.

About the Mercer Chapter of Sigma Xi
Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is a global honor society that recognizes scientific achievement. The Mercer University Chapter was established in 2005 and is the first in Central Georgia. The Mercer Chapter serves as the society chapter for the university and for all of Central Georgia. Sigma Xi is one of the oldest and largest non-profit scientific organizations in the world. It is the international honor society of scientists and engineers, with nearly 60,000 members in 100 countries, including more than 200 Nobel laureates.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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