Science Café: Using Science to Solve a Crime, June 9

Crime Novelist Archer Mayor to visit Brookhaven Lab for free book reading, discussion

Archer Mayor enlarge

Archer Mayor

UPTON, NY — During a free and open-to-the-public event, crime novelist Archer Mayor will detail how his long-standing fictional character detective Joe Gunther finds himself using cutting-edge forensics tools at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory to investigate a brutal series of murders.

At 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, in Brookhaven’s Berkner Hall, Mayor will read excerpts from Red Herring, a Vermont-based story that centers around the discovery of single drops of blood found at the scene of three seemingly unrelated murders. Mayor also will explain why, when conventional forensics lead the book’s detectives to a dead end, they take their evidence to Brookhaven’s National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS).

In Mayor’s book — and in real life — thousands of scientists from around the world visit NSLS every year to use its extremely bright beams of x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared light to study everything from renewable energy technologies to proteins vital for human life. NSLS also has been used to investigate forensic mysteries, including the rapid disappearance of children’s fingerprints from surfaces and the prevalence of lead poisoning in ancient cultures.

During the event, Brookhaven Lab researchers will discuss these studies and explore how tomorrow’s light sources — such as the National Synchrotron Light Source II, now under construction at Brookhaven — could be even more beneficial to law enforcement.

A question-and-answer session will follow.

Mayor is the 2004 New England Book Award winner for fiction and a Fellow of the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences. Mayor also works as a death investigator for the Vermont State Medical Examiner’s Office and as a deputy for the Windham County Sheriff’s Department.

The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway. All visitors age 16 and older must bring a photo ID.

For more information, contact or go to

An encore of this presentation will be offered at Borders in Stony Brook, NY (2130 Nesconset Highway) on Saturday, June 11, 2011, starting at 1 p.m. For more information, go to or call (631) 979-0500.

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