Hidden deep in the Blue Mountains is the Australian Facility for Taphonomic Experimental Research, a research facility run by UTS. It’s commonly shortened to AFTER, but many know it by another name: the body farm. It’s here where leading scientific researcher professor Shari Forbes spends most of her time surrounded by decomposing dead bodies. Morbid, yes, but fascinating both to science fiends and CSI fans.
“AFTER is the only facility in Australia where we allow people to donate their bodies to science,” says Forbes. “So that we can study the process of decomposition”. Forbes’ job is to assist with cadaver detection dogs. “I collect and chemically analyse the decomposition odour – possibly the worst part of the decomposition process,” she says. “We’re trying to understand the compounds in the odour that dogs recognise when they’re looking for human remains.”
The facilit is the first of its kind in Australia, and models itself after the body farms found in the US. And as you might have guessed, they love and loathe the comparison to the long running TV series CSI. “We love it because it has really raised awareness of forensic science,” says Forbes. “But it’s caused what we call the ‘CSI Effect’ where there’s an unrealistic expectation of what we can achieve and the time frame we can do that in. It’s a challenge for us, especially when we’re presenting as expert witnesses in court to juries who watch CSI.”
To read the full article go to Time Out
Another article can be found at Whimm.