Royal Society lates: forensics

05 October 2023 18:30 - 21:30 The Royal Society Free
Black and white image of fingerprints

For this event, we opened up our historic building for a special evening exploring the past, present and future of forensic science.

Visitors could test their detective skills through hands-on activities and workshops about DNA transfer and VR crime scenes, and join specialist talks about how forensic science has developed throughout history.

There was the opportunity to learn more about how forensic evidence is used in court, and our expert panel joined us to explore what it takes to keep the science accurate in ever-popular crime novels and TV shows. 

Explore the programme below.

Staying true to the crime

Find out more about what it takes to keep the science in much-loved crime novels and TV shows accurate during this panel discussion and Q&A.

Join forensic chemist Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, crime writer Val McDermid and actress and screenwriter Amelia Bullmore for this conversation chaired by Pennie Stuart.

Read more about this event.

The Evidence Chamber

There’s been a murder. The police have a suspect but the evidence doesn’t paint a clear picture.

In an online jury deliberation room, you watch the testimonies, scrutinise the evidence, discuss with your fellow jurors – and reach your verdict. The decision you make will change someone’s life: what verdict will you choose?

  • Content Warning: The Evidence Chamber contains strong language and a reference to domestic violence.
  • Please be aware that spaces for this activity are extremely limited and will be offered on a first-come first-served basis. Entry cannot be guaranteed - please arrive early to avoid disappointment. 
  • Timed activity: 6:30 - 8:00pm, 8:30 - 10pm | Council Room

Crime scene crafts

Join Dr Jen Crouch as art and forensic science come together in this immersive craft workshop. Blend creativity with crime-solving by using some of the methods and concepts used in forensic science to create your own works of art.

  • Drop-in activity: 6:30 - 9:30pm | Conference Room 

Food forensics

Join our professional chefs on a culinary journey inspired by forensic science, with demonstrations and activities. 

  • Drop-in activity: 6.30 - 9.30pm | City of London Room 3

Toxic testing

Ever wondered how long different drugs stay in the body or how long they remain detectable? Drop in to meet Dr Lorna Nisbet, an expert in forensic toxicology, to learn about how drugs and poisons are detected and analysed.

  • Drop-in activity: 6:30 - 9:30pm | City of London Room 1

Deceptive DNA

We tend to expect that DNA will clearly point towards a suspect, but is that really the case? Join Dr Alexander Gray as he demonstrates how DNA can transfer and persist from person to object or person to person. Learn more about the advancements and challenges of modern forensic DNA research.

  • Drop-in activity: 6:30 - 9:30pm | City of London Room 1

The numbers behind forensic science

How can we understand uncertainty? Dr Roberto Puch-Solis will be presenting us with a range of drop-in statistical experiments to get your gears going. Whether you are good or bad at math, these activities are for you.

  • Drop-in activity: 6.30 - 9.30pm | Wolfson Room 1

The crime scene: From 2D to 3D

The original state of a crime scene only lasts for a short window of time before evidence collection and investigation change what is within. Meet Vincenzo Rinaldi and Sean Yu, developers of a new photography technique that allows them to preserve crime scenes as accurate 3D models that can be explored in virtual reality.

  • Drop-in activity: 6:30 - 9:30pm | Wolfson Room 2

Doing science justice

Victorian writers adopted scientific ideas for their fictions and new developments in forensics were no exception. But how reliable was the science? The Royal Society's Head Librarian follows the clues, putting scientists and storytellers into the line-up, to identify the guilty parties.

  • Timed activity: 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm, 8.30pm | Library

Lightning talks

  • Carla Valentine explores the forensics of Agatha Christie
  • Vincenzo Rinaldi and Sean Yu walk us through a virtual recreation of a crime scene
  • Roberto Puch-Solis shows us how statistics can be used in forensics

Attending the event

  • Free to attend
  • Registration is not required
  • Doors will open at 6.30pm. Last entry will be at 9.15pm
  • Timed talks and activities require a free ticket which can be collection from the information desk. Tickets for all sessions will be available from 6.30pm
  • In person only
  • Suitable for 18+
  • Travel and accessibility information - contact us directly to arrange any specific accessibility requirements
  • Food and drink will be available for purchase at our onsite café

For all enquiries, please email


Thanks to The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science in partnership with the Leverhulme Trust.