The Chemistry Department, Association of Chemistry Graduate Students Presents: Bombing Investigations in the Real World

ByKirk Yeager, PhD. Chief Explosives Scientist, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Over the last decade television shows such as CSI have created a false perception of the life of forensic examiners. An overview of the real world experiences of bombing investigation will be interspersed with the true science applied  in  the  explosive world. Some lessons learned along the path from academic researcher to forensic investigator will be provided in hopes of providing a realistic understanding of operational science.

Kirk Yeager received his B.S. in Chemistry from Lafayette College and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Cornell University. He worked as a research scientist and Associate Director of R&D at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC). While in the Land of Enchantment he also held the position of Adjunct Professor in the New Mexico Tech chemistry department. For 10 years he served as a Physical Scientist/Forensic Examiner for the FBI Laboratory’s Explosives Unit where he deployed as a bombing crime scene investigator to dozens of countries. Currently he is the FBI’s Chief Explosives Scientist. Dr. Yeager has approximately 25 years of experience with improvised explosives and IED’s, has presented over 180 talks at international meetings and conferences, has produced over 75 specialty publications in the area of explosives and IED’s, and has written 4 book chapters. Over the course of his colorful career he has served as a subject matter expert for the National Academies of Sciences, worked as a technical advisor for the Mythbusters, and been the subject of a feature article in Popular Mechanics. He is an avid geocacher and holds the rank of Black Belt in Dan Zan Ryu Ju-Jutsu. His academic prowess is surpassed only by his charm and humility.

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