Episode 5 – Professor Dame Sue Black

Life can be unpredictable, but one thing we can all be sure of is that one day, it’s going to end...  according to our guest though, that needn’t be something to worry about too much! To say that we were chuffed with this week’s episode is a bit of an understatement…  We sat down for a drink and a chat at The Borough Pub in Lancaster with none other than Professor Dame Sue Black, world-renowned forensic anthropologist and strong contender for a ‘most productive person ever’ award.

Over a delightful couple of hours, we dissected (pun intended) some fascinating topics, including what it’s like to study anatomy using human cadavers, how to keep your cool when presenting evidence in court, and how to cope with the emotional and physical demands of disaster victim identification. Dark as some of this subject matter can be, Sue’s refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, sensitivity and sense of humour helped to bring out the inspirational and fascinating aspects of the work. We also got to hear about some cutting-edge forensic work Sue’s team have pioneered, and a grisly story about a medieval murder case that left us feeling light-headed…

Welcome back to the Pint of Science podcast. Each week, we meet scientists in pubs around the UK to find out about their lives, their universe, and everything. From *how* fruit flies love to *why* humans love, via jumping into volcanoes, winning Olympic medals, where we came from and more!

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The Pint of Science podcast is a part of the Pint of Science Festival, the world's largest science communication festival. Thousands of guests and speakers descend on pubs in hundreds of cities worldwide to introduce science in a fun, engaging, and usually pint-fuelled way.

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About Sue Black, this week's guest:

Professor Dame Sue Black is a globally renowned anatomist and forensic anthropologist, and presently Pro-Vice Chancellor of Engagement at Lancaster University. From 2005 to 2018 Sue was Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee where she oversaw the running of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, a world-leading centre responsible for training the UK national disaster victim identification unit and for creating the first forensic anthropology programme in the UK. Sue has led forensic teams specialising in disaster victim identification across the world, in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Grenada, Iraq and Thailand, work that has led to her receiving her DBE in 2016 for services to forensic anthropology and education. Since August 2018, Sue has been overseeing the engagement strategy for Lancaster University as part of a newly created role.

Sue’s autobiography ‘All that Remains: A Life in Death’ recently won the Saltire Book of the Year Award. She reads a great audiobook version of it too.

You can follow Sue on twitter: @ProfSueBlack

And just because we liked the video, here’s Sue performing an ‘alien autopsy’ at Dundee’s Being Human Festival.

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