Dr. Bass to speak at Spring Author Event
by Special to the Banner
Mar 17, 2013 | 901 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dr. William Bass
Dr. William Bass
The Friends of the Library Association Spring Author Event will feature Dr. William Bass of “Body Farm” fame.

The event will be held on April 16 at the Little Theater in the Village Green.

Events that evening will include a Meet Dr. Bass Reception, with wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres. This reception will be limited to 75 and includes a reserve seat to the presentation ticket price $50 per person.

For reservations for the reception please call 475-1770 or 472-2163.

Tickets to the talk are available at the Library’s Circulation Desk at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 student no reservations necessary for the talk.

Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Together they have written both nonfiction and fiction books.

The first six Body Farm novels took readers deep into the East Tennessee hills and the Florida panhandle, where fascinating forensic science mixed with extraordinary characters, including the Farm’s charismatic founder, Dr. Bill Brockton.

Now, in the seventh installment of the New York Times bestselling series that Kathy Reichs calls “the real deal,” Brockton travels to one of the most beautiful and historic cities in France ... and tackles the case of the millennium. His non fiction books have been used as textbooks in area science classes.

Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, founded the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility — the Body Farm — a quarter-century ago. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career, “Death’s Acre.”

Dr. Bass is also a dedicated teacher, honored as National Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science and broadcast on National Public Radio.

The co-author of “Death’s Acre,” he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.

Dr. Bass arrived at The University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1971. He oversaw the development of the forensic anthropology program at UTK, which culminated in the creation of the Forensic Anthropology Center within the Department of Anthropology. Many resources for students, researchers, and law enforcement agencies are available.

Human identification services have now been provided through the State Medical Examiner System for the District Attorney General’s Office, arson investigators, and various state, local, and national law enforcement agencies and county medical examiners for over thirty years.

The purpose of the Forensic Anthropology Center is to provide research, training and service with compassion. As the heart and soul of the Forensic Anthropology Center, the donation program ensures that all of the families and donors are treated with the utmost respect and compassion. Each person is of tremendous scientific value and we are grateful to our donors and their families.

The Anthropology Research Facility is the first of its kind to permit systematic study of human decomposition. The 1.3 acres of land made famous by Dr. Bass will soon be expanding. This addition will allow for studies using advanced technology to quantify how bodies interact with the environment.

The skeletal collections provide unparalleled opportunities to study modern human skeletal variation, pathology and trauma. The hallmark of these collections is the Bass Donated Skeletal Collection that now consists of nearly 1000 individuals, the largest collection of contemporary human skeletons in the United States.

The Forensic Data Bank (FDB) contains data on more than 3,400 forensic cases in the U.S. and has recently expanded to include contemporary individuals from Central and South America, Europe and Asia. The FDB has been instrumental in documenting change within the human population.

The “Body Farm” is the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility located a few miles from downtown on Alcoa Highway in Knoxville, behind the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

It was first started in late 1981 by anthropologist Dr. Bass as a facility for study of the decomposition of human remains. As official state forensic anthropologist for Tennessee, he was frequently consulted in police cases involving decomposed human remains. Since no facilities existed that specifically studied decomposition, in 1981 he opened the department’s first body farm.

It consists of a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) wooded plot, surrounded by a razor wire fence. At any one time there will be a number of bodies placed in different settings throughout the facility and left to decompose. The bodies are exposed in a number of ways in order to provide insights into decomposition under varying conditions.

Detailed observations and records of the decomposition process are kept, including the sequence and speed of decomposition and the effects of insect activity.

Over 100 bodies are donated to the facility every year. Some individuals pre-register before their death while others are donated by their families or by a medical examiner. Sixty percent of donations are made by family members of individuals who were not pre-registered with the facility.

More than 1,300 people have chosen to pre-register themselves. Perhaps the most famous person to donate his body for study was the anthropologist Grover Krantz, as described by his colleague David Hunt at the Smithsonian.

The University of Tennessee Body Farm is also used in the training of law enforcement officers in scene-of-crime skills and techniques.

There are several “Body Farms” across the country. The concept of a body farm in particular has been used in several crime-related works of popular culture.