A year of WeAreForensic!

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Just over one year ago I started the WeAreForensic website with the idea of spreading my love of forensic science and sports drug testing.  Pour a drink, get some party poppers out and celebrate the high points of the past year with me!

At the end of October last year I first posted a blog ‘Why study Forensic Science? Undergraduates tell all…‘.  I made the decision to blog regularly at the end of November, so one year ago now, and have managed to be fairly consistent in my posting.  The aim was to comment on forensic science stories, sports doping and forensic science education.  I have stuck mainly to those – even when I have felt like making some more political points!  I got some nice comments immediately and realised it was being read – then that realisation was further enhanced when I had to up my hosting package because the bandwidth being used by you all reading it!

The major downside for me has been that the last few months I really haven’t had the time to be writing blogs, so have only managed a couple per month.  I had aimed to get one out every week, or at least every fortnight.  Every fortnight has just about been met…

 

Highlights

Networking

I found found a number of interesting people through them commenting on my blog – via Facebook, Twitter or email.  There is a very strong community in forensic science, both in forensic science provision and education in the UK and overseas.  Please feel free to join the community!

 

Top three most read posts

By quite some margin the most read is ‘How to get skinny and get cancer – GW1516′.  In April a Russian cyclist failed a test for the little known ‘GW1516′ compound – I took a deeper look into it in this post.  This was part of a series of ‘new doping’ compounds which have all had a very high readership from around the world.

My post ‘In defence of the forensic science degree’ has also had a very high readership. In this post I point out many of the positive aspects of studying forensic science as well as some of the drawbacks.  This post has generated the most discussion via Twitter and in the comments section.  Any thoughts on the post or the value of a forensic science degree?  Let me know…

Ricin – the castor bean poison’ is the third highest viewed post this last year.  The post was inspired by watching an episode of Breaking Bad where poison was extracted from castor beans…

 

Favourite posts

I think I have two favourites, showing the breadth of the posts I have been aiming at.  Firstly I took a few photos of our students in the crime scene house at Sheffield Hallam Uni and wrote about it in ‘CSI:Sheffield – the crime scene house’.

The second was the review of the initial evidence and some thoughts on the Oscar Pistorius case – ‘Oscar Pistorius – how not to present forensic evidence’.  This was shared widely in the UK and overseas (not suprisingly in SA) and was in the top ten posts of the year.  It was a good example of how forensic science evidence can make or break a case.

 

Villian of the year

Well there can only be one, step forward Lance Armstrong.  The fairy tale story of the cancer survivor turned Tour de France winner has been unravelling from pretty much the moment I set up the site (coincidence?). He is now more of the pantomine villian than hero though having been stripped of the Tour titles, lost all his endorsement deals and being threatened with countless lawsuits, the drama isn’t finished yet.

I‘ll leave you with an ad made by Lance and Nike some years ago, which is one of my favourites - ‘people ask me what I’m on…’.  Enjoy and thanks for reading – please sign up and joing the merry band of regular subscribers now!

 

 

About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. Dr B is currently a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. And yes... he watches CSI.