• TALK:
    • 15 November 2012, 1:30–3:00 pm
      Room G3, Electrical Engineering Building, Kensington Campus, University of New South Wales

    • Dr James Curran
      Associate Professor, Department of Statistics, University of Auckland
      Director, Bioinformatics Institute, University of Auckland

    • Is forensic science the last bastion of resistance against statistics?

    • Over the last thirty years there have been substantial, complex, advances in the physical sciences that have been readily embraced by forensic science. For example: what forensic DNA laboratory could function without PCR? Would trace labs be willing to drop ICP or IR MS? The same cannot be said of advances in statistics for the interpretation of evidence. Members of the forensic statistics community have worked on advancing statistical interpretation of DNA evidence for approximately 25 years. Adoption of these advances, however, ranges from nothing to leading edge. Some labs offer no statistic and report that the DNA recovered from the scene is “consistent with Mr X.” There is widespread usage, still, of “Random Man Not Excluded” or similar statistics. And some labs use the most advanced techniques we have to date. The same can be said in trace and fingerprints. In this talk I will discuss this problem, some of the reasons why I think it exists, and some potential solutions.

    • Slides