Finishing the Fulbright

I’ve finished my Fulbright year and it was incredible. I spent twelve months living in LA and researching at the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Irvine. Jennifer Mnookin and Bill Thompson, my hosts, were incredibly generous with their time and support.

I presented at the UCLA Workshop on Law, Science & Evidence, the International Association for Identification Conference, and the European Academy of Forensic Science, and took out Best Presentation at the International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, partied at the Australian Embassy and took Second Place in the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. I attended the NIJ Conference, met with Senator Rockefeller’s Staff on Capitol Hill, gave two talks at Harvard, and had two papers published and volunteered in New Orleans.

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Harvard Presentations

I spent a few days with my good friend Will Harrison in Boston, Massachusetts, and presented to Peter Bex’s lab at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School. I also presented to Jeremy Wolfe and his Visual Attention Group at Harvard Medical School. Jeremy Wolfe is Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. Click for more.

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American Academy of Forensic Sciences

I presented at the 65th Anniversary Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Washington, DC. The theme of the conference was “Founded on observation and experience, improved by education and research.” I had meetings with Barry Scheck (co-founder Innocence Project), Michael Risinger (Professor of Law), and William Thompson (Professor of Criminology, Law, and Society and Psychology & Social Behavior and Law). My talk, “Evidence for expertise in fingerprint identification and the ramifications for the future study of forensic expertise,” was in the Criminalistics Stream, Fingerprint Identification and Analysis Session. [PDF] [Slides]

American Academy of Forensic Sciences

Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Irvine

I’ve just finished a three month visit to the University of California, Irvine, as a Visiting Fulbright Scholar. I was invited by Bill Thompson and also spent time chatting with Simon Cole and Elizabeth Loftus who form part of the Center for Psychology and Law. Bill and I are working on surveying the various approaches to the expression of forensic science conclusions, considering the epistemological and legal issues, and evaluating the costs and benefits of each approach. Thank you to everyone who made my visit a fun and fruitful one! Click for more.

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Fulbright in New Orleans

Thanks to the US Department of State, I was flown to New Orleans with dozens of Fulbright Scholars from around the world to discuss Global challenges, local solutions: Climate change and environmental sustainability. We were featured in the local rag, The Times Picayune, whilst volunteering at The Green Project repurposing landfill to help rebuild houses post-Katrina. My group also took the award for Best Environmental Solution and Presentation!

Matthew B Thompson - Fulbright Enrichment New Orleans

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Welcome Reception for Consul-General Karen Lanyon

I attended the Welcome Reception for LA’s incoming Consul-General, Karen Lanyon, at the Official Residence just off Sunset Blvd. Lots of interesting people, including those Aussies making it big in the US! It was also a night for celebration, with the announcement that Australia had won a seat on the United Nations Security Council. Click for more.

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Best Presentation at 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences

I attended the 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences in Hobart, Australia where I gave the Fingerprint Discipline Keynote, “Evidence for Expertise and Accuracy in Fingerprint Identification.” I took out the Best Oral Award and was given a few goodies at the conference dinner. My colleagues, Gary Edmond, Kristy Martire, and Glenn Porter, also won awards. On the social side, we were treated to a reception with the Governor of Tasmania, Peter Underwood AC, and an awesome masquerade ball at the Museum of Old and New Art. Click for more.

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European Academy of Forensic Science Conference 2012

I attended at the the 6th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice, The Netherlands. I presented, “Evidence for Expertise in the Matching Performance of Human Fingerprint Examiners.” In addition to the scientific program, we enjoyed some time at the beach, dinner in a beautiful church, and a visit from Queen Beatrix. Click for more.

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International Association for Identification Conference

I spoke to a packed room at the 97th Annual Conference of the International Association for Identification in Phoenix, Arizona. I presented the results of an experiment showing that qualified, court-practicing fingerprint experts are exceedingly accurate compared with novices, but are not infallible. And considered the ramifications for the future study of forensic expertise, and the implications for expert testimony and public policy. (I also managed to sneak in a chopper flight over the Grand Canyon!) Click for more.

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Meeting with Senator Rockefeller Staff

I met with Senator Jay Rockefeller’s staff on Capitol Hill while on a trip to Washington, D.C. Rockefeller is introducing a bill—the Forensic Science and Standards Act of 2012—to promote research and reform in the forensic sciences. The staff asked for copies of my research and asked me to formally comment on the legislation in preparation for Senate Committee markup. I was honoured to make a contribution and hope my suggestions make it into the next round! Click for more.

Matthew B Thompson - Capitol Hill Washington, D.C.

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