• Professor Dame Sue Black
Professor Dame Sue Black

We are delighted to confirm that Professor Dame Sue Black DBE will give the first Plenary Lecture Demonstration in our 64th LIYSF programme. Professor Black is a forensic anthropologist, anatomist and academic. She is the President of St John’s College at the University of Oxford, and Visiting Professor of Computing and Communications at Lancaster University, having previously been Pro-Vice Chancellor at Lancaster University. Professor Black will give the 2022 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture.

Having been a lecturer in Anatomy at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, she spent 10 years working for the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the United Nations, on the identification of victims and perpetrators of various conflicts. In 1999 she became the lead forensic anthropologist to the British Forensic Team in Kosovo and in 2003 she undertook two tours to Iraq. In 2005 Sue participated in the United Kingdom’s contribution to the Thai Tsunami Victim Identification operation as part of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami international response.

Sue has developed new techniques and building databases to confirm or disconfirm someone’s identify based on photographs of their hands or arms. This technique has become important in prosecution cases where the accused have taken photographs of their actions. In 2009, Sue used vein pattern analysis to confirm the identity of a suspect; the first time that the technique was used in a criminal conviction.

Sue has a BSc degree with honours in human anatomy and a PhD degree for her thesis on ‘Identification from the Human Skeleton’ from the University of Aberdeen. She has published many bookes, including her latest book, ‘Written in bone: Hidden stories in what we leave behind’. She was a founder of The British Association for Forensic Anthropology and The British Association for Human Identification; has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, The Royal Anthropological Institute and The British Academy; and is life-time Professor of Anatomy for the Royal Scottish Academy.

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