23rd February 2003




Stable and radioactive isotopes can be put to a multitude of uses, from detecting serious crime to identifying the origin of nuclear contamination.


In his Lincoln Academy inaugural lecture next month Professor Brian McGaw from the University of Lincoln will discuss how isotopes are becoming more and more useful to the scientific community.


Professor McGaw, who is Dean of the Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences at the university, will deliver his lecture ‘Isotopes and Forensic Science: from the Piltdown Man to the Pakistan Mummy’ on Wednesday 17th March 2004.


“Radioactivity was just one of many exciting discoveries made in the 19th century,” says Professor McGaw. “Isotopes bear witness to the origin of the universe and can provide accurate information on the age of objects from the Pre-Cambrian to the recent past.


“Since the uncovering of the Piltdown Man hoax in the 1950s radio-carbon dating has been used to uncover fraud and murder, and radioactive isotopes can also be used to identify the origin of nuclear contamination from civil and military sources.


“Nowadays stable isotopes are increasingly used to help to solve the mysteries of the past and the present, uncovering evidence of global climatic change, locating the origin of illegal drugs or terrorist explosives and identifying the food that our ancestors ate.”


The talk will be given at 6pm in the Jackson Lecture Theatre at the Brayford Pool campus and members of the public are welcome to attend.


Refreshments will be served in the Alstom Atrium from 5.30pm and there will be wine and a light buffet after the lecture at about 7pm.


If you would like to attend contact Faith Cobaine on Lincoln 886626 or email fcobaine@lincoln.ac.uk  including the names of those who wish to attend.



For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln (tel: 01522 886042)                       email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk

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