March 17, 2003

Forensic pathologists study how bodies decompose in order to find out when the person died. Science writer Jessica Snyder Sachs shadowed twelve pathologists, and talks with Todd about their research and work. She talks about how the pathologists re-create a crime scene using clues from the decomposing corpse, and soil and plant samples. She talks about insects that inhabit the corpse, and the phases of body decomposition. She notes the ways forensic ecologists' work is used in the courtroom and criminal justice system. Her book is "Corpse: Nature, Forensics and the Struggle to Pinpoint the Time of Death".

Gail Anderson studies how human bodies decay by conducting research on dead pigs. She talks with Todd about placing pig carcasses in different environments to find out how they decompose in water, on land, and underground, and why she applies her findings to humans. She is a professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

John Heath and his team are called to murder scenes and fatal accident areas to clean up human remains and sanitize the sites. His company is called Crime Scene Cleanup, Inc, and he tells Todd about methods he uses to clean human remains at crime scenes, and the particulars of keeping himself safe while dealing with hazardous human fluids.