PULLMAN – “Common Reading Tuesdays” – the newest addition to the popular Common Reading program at Washington State University — starts this week, bringing some of the most compelling research on campus directly to the students.
Dr. Brian Kemp, molecular anthropologist and ancient DNA specialist, will meet with freshmen and others at 7 p.m. Tuesday in room 203 Smith Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE). His presentation, “Old Genes (Sometimes) Never Wear Out,” will explore the topic of DNA. Kemp, who had a Top 100 story in Discover magazine in 2007, examined the DNA in a 10,000-year-old man’s tooth found in an Alaskan cave and found evidence to shed new light onto when humans came to the Americas. He’s also used DNA to determine that most of the infants buried under an Aztec temple were males, giving new answers and raising new questions about that ancient society.
Second in the Common Reading Tuesdays lineup will be Dr. Bethany Marshal, forensic ecologist, who on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in Smith CUE 203 will discuss “Putting a Timeline on Death” by using her specialty. Much like popular television scientist Gil Grissom, of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Marshall uses insects, plants, soil, and pollen samples to determine how long a body has been dead. She trains law enforcement officials in forensic ecology, consults on cases, and testifies in court.