We study the past so that we can both understand the present and improve our future. Much of our research is forward-thinking, but it is important to also reflect on our past. When King Richard III’s remains were found in a Leicester parking lot, modern forensic science had to be applied in order to uncover the historical story of the last king of York.
On the 21st of March, the University of Leicester held an Open Day celebrating the discovery and reinterment of Richard III. For that occasion, a special INTREPID exhibition was held in the George Porter building. At this exhibition, we showcased our research posters and facilitated demos to provide a fun, interactive platform by which the general public could learn about the forensic field. Lisa hosted a shoe-print comparison activity, and there was also a session in the chemistry labs for developing fingerprints. The two of us wanted to contribute as well, so we came up with an INTREPID fingerprint bookmark. In order to do so, we spent the whole weekend before that designing them in LaTeX and perfecting the template to get them just the way we wanted. In the process, this gave us more ideas for potential INTREPID swag for future events.
The INTREPID bookmarks that we designed. They are uniquely customizable by imprinting a fingerprint onto the oval.
Not knowing how many we would need, we printed no less than 400, and it turns out it wasn’t even enough! The Open Day got pretty hectic from 10:30 onwards as crowds continually came through the building. We ran out of bookmarks and hand wipes by around 2:30 and started taking fingerprints on basically everything: INTREPID cards, Open Day programs, etc.
The two of us at the Open Day explaining the basics of fingerprint identification to those who came by the George Porter building.
Overall, it was an unexpected success as the amount of people who came exceeded our predictions. We also had the opportunity to talk about our research to those who showed interest in our program and the university overall. It was really rewarding to see our efforts pay off.
Shot taken by a Portuguese paparazzi in ambush. An employee of Francisco Fotografia © was reported fleeing the scene shortly after that.
The next day, we briefly saw the procession of King Richard III through the city, which was a great reminder of the outcome of the application of forensic science to the past. That weekend, the people of Leicester saw the unity of the past and future of forensic science – the story of the last English king who died in battle and the advancement of the technology responsible for uncovering it.
A band playing in the streets of Leicester on the day of the procession.