History of Toxicology

Discussion in 'Forensic Science' started by PraetorCorvinus, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. PraetorCorvinus

    PraetorCorvinus Moderator Moderator

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    I wasn't sure where to post this information, but I figured the 'Forensic Science' section would be the most appropriate.

    A book was released over a week ago titled "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York" by Deborah Blum. It apparently tells how a New York City chief medical examiner and his toxicologist helped revolutionize modern forensics.

    Haven't read it yet (going to pick it up this weekend) but the reviews from several sites and news sources have praised it and have even compared several of the cases told in the book as though "watching an episode of CSI"'

    Just figured some people would be interested in this. :)
     
  2. Dizzney

    Dizzney Moderately Insane Moderator

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    Thanks for posting that. It would be an interesting read if you want to know more about Forensics.
     
  3. PraetorCorvinus

    PraetorCorvinus Moderator Moderator

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    Well, I finally picked up the book and read it. It was very enjoyable and VERY enlightening.

    In essence, it basically covered the formation of the New York Crime Lab. It also gave an interesting look at Prohibition era New York City; a heyday for toxicology since all the drinks in speakeasies trying to pass as liquor were deadly, some to the extreme.

    The book covers Chloroform, Methyl Alcohol (Wood Alcohol), Cyanide, Arsenic, Mercury, Carbon Monoxide, Radium, Ethyl Alcohol (the regular alcohol) and Thallium.

    Each poison gets it's own chapter. Some get two. It describes the chemical makeup of each and the horrific effects they have on the human body. And to make it interesting, there are at least two or three actual cases provided for each detailing the work the medical examiners office (there was no actual 'Crime Lab' yet) did to solve them.

    For anyone interested in chemistry, toxicology or forensic history (or even CSI-y crime stuff), I HIGHLY recommend this book. I never found it boring and even when it went into the description of the elemental makeup of the poisons, the author made it easy to understand for even the most novice of readers (me, I'm no chemist). Very enjoyable and worth it.
     
  4. PianoWizzy

    PianoWizzy Prime Suspect

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    Ooooh, thank you for posting this. I was planning for the summer and realizing I didn't have anything to read. And then I saw that there were CSI novels and I spasmed. But I think that this would probably be even more interesting to me [as a chemistry person who never shuts up in class but gets 100% on tests anyway :guffaw:]. And that, sounds so incredibly epic. I shall pick it up.
     
  5. PraetorCorvinus

    PraetorCorvinus Moderator Moderator

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    PianoWizzy, I think you'd enjoy it! :)

    Quick update!
    The man who was appointed the chief medical examiner of New York City, the main guy in the book who basically spearheaded the whole future forensic/crime lab/scientific approach to crime solving, was named Charles Norris.

    Yes, the man who helped create CSIs was... CHUCK NORRIS! ::eyes gleam madly as the mysteries of the universe suddenly resolve themselves::
     
  6. PianoWizzy

    PianoWizzy Prime Suspect

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    ROFL >giggles like mad<

    CHUCK NORRIS. Chuck Norrissism is a religion in my school. Can you imagine?? That's crazy. Once my classmates get their hands on this kind of information, they'll be all over me about it, me being a 42ist.

    Yeeeeaaaahhhhh.
     
  7. ASCHATRIA

    ASCHATRIA Witness

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    do you have something about bugs, they sometimes use insects to solve crime....
     
  8. The history of toxicology brims over with fascinating myths and legends, scientific milestones and innovations, and seminal documents. No more than a soup├žon are covered here. From antiquity to the present day, toxicology has held us in its spell. Identifying hazardous agents, avoiding them, lessening their effects, and employing them for our own ends, all play significant roles in our daily lives and collective imagination. Much of the literature, and many of the images cited among the highlights here are within the holdings of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
     

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