It was billed as the "Ultimate Science Street Fair," and for the fifth year representatives of the John Jay College Department of Sciences were prominent participants in the World Science Festival in and around Washington Square Park. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends on June 3 presented "Beyond CSI," a sprawling interactive experience and exhibit designed to highlight the importance of science both at the crime scene and in the laboratory.
Well in excess of 150,000 visitors passed through the annual street fair, where the John Jay exhibit was given one of the largest and choicest locations by festival organizers. Led by Professor Linda Rourke, the 30-member John Jay team presented such features as:
- A cordoned-off "crime scene," complete with bloodied "corpses," where participants were encouraged to think about how science comes into play at the scene of a crime;
- A forensic anthropology feature that allowed participants to dig for evidence associated with skeletal remains;
- DNA extraction, where participants extracted DNA from their cheek cells using household chemicals and learned about forensic DNA analysis;
- Microscopy that allowed participants to visualize magnified images of physical evidence like hairs, fibers, blood cells, and insects;
- A fingerprinting component where participants could develop their fingerprints on paper using magnetic powder.
"Even when thunderstorms blew through Washington Square Park, the crowds were undeterred by the inclement weather," said Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic serologist who was part of the John Jay team. "People ducked in for cover and emerged immediately afterwards to resume their exploration of forensic science."
Participating in the Beyond CSI exhibit from John Jay were:
Faculty/Staff: Judith Beekman; Angelique Corthals; Alison Domzalski; Don Hoffman; Larry Kobilinsky; Marcel Roberts; Linda Rourke (along with her sons, Mack Rourke and Cailan Rourke, and friend Isabella Hung), and Sandra Swenson.
Students/Alumni: Julie Cohen (and her daughter, Jane); Nick Drake; Gabriela Esparza; Paola Estrada; Venice Foster; Christina Hui; Karry Johnston;; Loretta Kuo; Lidissy Liriano; Melinda Amy Liu; Ashley Morgan; Shirley Perez; Chris Singh; Sade Solomon; Shannon Talty; Luz Vargas; Cindy Alicia Williams, and Rachael Zotara.