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Background

IUPUI has a nationally-respected active research program focused on explosives analysis, including designing new and more sensitive ways to identify explosives before and after explosions. The only reliable way to test these methods is to try them out on actual post-blast debris in a controlled experiment that simulates actual crime scenes. The ultimate goal is to share knowledge learned with forensic scientists worldwide.

John Goodpaster, who directs IUPUI’s Forensic and Investigative Sciences (FIS) Program teaches  a variety of topics including device identification, search patterns, evidence collection and examination, forensic chemistry, role of forensic scientists in law enforcement, and training of forensic scientists. His leadership and dedication to the program has helped IUPUI become one of the most sought after universities to study in forensics. 

The Experiment

Pipe bombs are deadly improvised explosive devices constructed from easily obtainable materials. During a controlled experiment that simulates actual pipe bomb crime scenes, a series of devices that vary by type of pipe (plastic or metal) and the type of explosive (smokeless powder, pyrotechnic or TNT) will be detonated. The Indiana State Police Bomb Squad, which has partnered with IUPUI for many years, will construct the devices. IUPUI students will play the role of crime scene investigators.

Photo Gallery

Image 1. Outside the Lehigh Heidelberg Cement Group quarry in Logansport, IN.

 

Image 2. Dr. John Goodpaster talk to the local media about the impact of the experiments on the science community.

 

Image 3. Undergraduate and graduate students working together with Dr. Goodpaster to plan out the explosion area.

 

Image 4. Dr. Frédérique Deiss and Donna Roskowski working to prepare the experiment subjects for the test explosions. 

Image 5. Students talk over final calculations and predictions before the testing begins.

 

Image 6. Dr. Deiss and Dr. Goodpaster talk with the local authorities about whether the dogs can detect the trace elements in the bombs.

 

Image 7. Donna and a student survey the explosion from a safe distance to record the events.

 

Image 8. A Ph.D. student marks the impact zone with flags to simulate a real crime scene.

 

Image 9. Leftover debris from the explosion marked as evidence for future testing and experiments.

 

Image 10. Group photo of all student, staff, and faculty involved. Thank you to all individuals involved!