Posted by: COSI | July 5, 2008

CSI: The COSI Experience

One of the coolest perks of my job is the chance to meet neat people and be exposed to new worlds.

COSI is a founding member of SMEC—the Science Museum Exhibition Consortium. This group, currently seven members strong representing some of the top science centers/museums in the country, generates some of the best exhibits COSI is able to share with the citizens of our region.

The latest SMEC exhibit to open at COSI is CSI: The Experience. Members Night gave us the treat of hosting David Berman and Jon Wellner – a researcher/actor pair from the show. Sure they weren’t the stars, but David has appeared in 140 episodes as the assistant coroner David Phillips, and Jon has 22 episodes under his belt as toxicologist Henry Andrews.

But what I enjoyed about them was how they were normal guys, self-deprecating, and yet could gladly share how they are involved with researching the science and technology behind the show. In chatting with them, I found the added interesting point that Jon’s father is a Columbus native – one of the factors in our ability to have the two actors join us.

What I found fascinating was how they did their research and the degree to which the show shoots for authenticity.

I think we all suspect that few labs look like the ones on the show with all the high powered equipment and technology. But what Jon and David shared was that all science and technology in the show has a basis in reality.

When the writers bring up an idea, it’s Jon and David’s responsibility to explore the science or technology behind the idea. They Google for information and contacts, they call people, connect with scientists with what may seem like obscure specialities—yet very relevant to the plot line and crime solving.

David and Jon explained that some of the sophisticated equipment on the show may actually still be in prototype form in reality, but several of the technologies they’ve had in early shows have now become mainstream—so in some ways you are actually able to peer into the future of mainstream forensics by watching the show.

And that’s why I like having CSI: The Experience at COSI—it not only gives our guests a chance to try problem solving, but we’re connecting them through the show to the real applications of science and technology in a way that is interesting and compelling.

Check out this video from our YouTube channel of David and Jon visiting COSI:


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