Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science

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Harper Collins, Oct 13, 2009 - True Crime - 320 pages
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There is no scientist in the world like Dr. Bill Bass. A pioneer in forensic anthropology, Bass created the world's first laboratory dedicated to the study of human decomposition—three acres of land on a hillside in Tennessee where human bodies are left to the elements. His research at "the Body Farm" has revolutionized forensic science, helping police crack cold cases and pinpoint time of death. But during a forensics career that spans half a century, Bass and his work have ranged far beyond the gates of the Body Farm. In this riveting book, the bone sleuth explores the rise of modern forensic science, using fascinating cases from his career to take readers into the real world of C.S.I.

Some of Bill Bass's cases rely on the simplest of tools and techniques, such as reassembling—from battered torsos and a stack of severed limbs—eleven people hurled skyward by an explosion at an illegal fireworks factory. Other cases hinge on sophisticated techniques Bass could not have imagined when he began his career: harnessing scanning electron microscopy to detect trace elements in knife wounds; and extracting DNA from a long-buried corpse, only to find that the female murder victim may have been mistakenly identified a quarter-century before.

In Beyond the Body Farm, readers will follow Bass as he explores the depths of an East Tennessee lake with a twenty-first-century sonar system, in a quest for an airplane that disappeared with two people on board thirty-five years ago; see Bass exhume fifties pop star "the Big Bopper" to determine what injuries he suffered in the plane crash that killed three rock and roll legends on "the day the music died"; and join Bass as he works to decipher an ancient Persian death scene nearly three thousand years old. Witty and engaging, Bass dissects the methods used by homicide investigators every day, leading readers on an extraordinary journey into the high-tech science that it takes to crack a case.

 

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Contents

Applying
1
Finding Answers in Teeth and
19
Using UV to
29
Interpreting Teeth
39
Determining Time Since Death
67
Finding a Fingerprint in a
81
Convicting a Killer by Matching
93
Pinpointing Time Since Death
113
Scanning a Knife Mark
145
Reopening an Old Coffin
159
Searching the Depths with Sonar
173
Putting a Face on the Dead
193
Digging for the Truth and
211
Pushing the Limits of
241
AC KNOW LEDG MENTS
255
INDEX
269

Harnessing Software
127

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About the author (2009)

Dr. Bill Bass is a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, the founder of the University of Tennessee's "Body Farm," and the author of more than two hundred scientific publications.

Jon Jefferson's work has appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science. Together, writing as "Jefferson Bass," they have coauthored the novels Carved in Bone, Flesh and Bone, and The Devil's Bones.

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