Speaker: James T. Spencer, PhD, Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor of Chemistry (Department of Chemistry), and Founding Executive Director, Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) at Syracuse University
Talk Overview: One of the greatest forensic mysteries, not to mention the greatest single archeological find in history, relates to what happen to King Tut over 3,300 years ago. Today, he is probably the most famous and recognizable of all the pharaohs from ancient Egypt. But, it’s only through a sequence of highly unlikely events that Tut gained his preeminent place in history. Ever since the discovery of his untouched tomb and mummy, people have been intrigued by what led to the demise of the teenage King. Medical findings at the time of his discovery pointed to murder and, since then, people have sought to find out “Who Killed King Tut!” Today, however, the seemingly insignificant application of spinning neutrons has led to a surprising and radical change in how we view the entire case of King Tut.
Biography: Dr. Spencer received his bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Potsdam and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University of Science and Technology. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Virginia and joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 1986. In 2013, he received the Chancellor’s Citation for Excellence, the highest award recognition for SU faculty and staff in recognition of outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship and creative work. He also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from University College in 2009 and has served as the Associate Dean for Science, Mathematics and Research in the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Spencer has received several honors for his research work, including the “Distinguished Achievements in Boron Science” Award from the BUSA International Conference. He has authored of over 80 papers, a textbook in Forensic Science, 7 patents and has presented over 150 research lectures at regional, national and international meetings on his work. The FNSSI brings together work from many disciplines and provides a program of excellence, uniquely positioned to make significant contributions to combat crime and promote national security through research, teaching, and professional outreach: the nation’s first program that comprehensively focuses upon the breadth and depth scholarship in forensic and national security sciences and is establishing groundbreaking research based upon rigorous scientific investigation and technical ability. His popular course, Introduction to Forensic Science, has been offered to over 20,000 students, both on and off the SU campus.
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