The work of a West Virginia University husband and wife who practice forensic science is part of an exhibit on the subject which opens Thursday (Feb. 16) at the United States National Library of Medicine.
Visible Proofs: Forensic Views of the Bodywill run through 2008 at the national lab’s Bethesda , Md. , facilities.
It features the photographic work of Michael Bell, who constructs crime scenarios for the WVU Forensic and Investigative Science Program; and Dr. Suzanne Bell, an associate professor of chemistry who penned the world’s first-ever textbook dealing exclusively with forensic chemistry.
Other items on display include the actual equipment used in Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy, a human heart that was pierced by a bullet and medical treatises on forensic science dating back to the 1600s.
For a quick look at the some of the items, visit the display online athttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/news/press_releases/visibleproofphotos.html.
Michael and Suzanne Bell’s contribution is a collection of highly detailed photography showing how chemistry and specific wavelengths of light converge to help investigators literally visualize evidence at the crime scene.
The thing about them is that they aren’t just in the classroom, WVU ’s Max Houck said of the couple. Houck is a former FBI investigator who now heads the University Forensic Science Initiative. He also served on a national advisory board that helped plan the exhibit.
Mike and Suzanne have been there at actual scenes,Houck said.They were out there, doing the science in the field.
Michael Bell is a former crime scene analyst with the New Mexico State Police, and he uses his experience to reconstruct scenarios for WVU students at the forensic program’s threecrime scenehouses on the Evansdale campus.
Suzanne Bell also logged time in New Mexico crime labs, working as a forensic chemist before returning to school to earn a doctorate in chemistry. Forensic programs in colleges and universities across the country and world are now usingForensic Chemistry,the textbook she penned last year.
More than 500 students from 35 states and five countries are enrolled in WVU ’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, which is housed in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. The program was recently featured on CNN , and has been profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Rolling Stone, Newsweek and on E! Entertainment.