Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Practical Chemistry: Poison, Procedure, and Worst-Case Scenarios

I'm doing this online course in February with the Kiss of Death Chapter of the RWA. Getting ready to start my Romantic Mystery at the end February.

When I was a PhD student and researcher I could have gotten hold of any number of chemicals. Several of my friends shut down whole departments after accidentally mixing the wrong ingredients. Radiation. Acid. Formaldehyde. I remember a Chinese student who ended up being deported for fraud, throwing a class 5 chemical around the lab like it was icing sugar. I guess I should be glad my kids turned out okay in the end ;) Or maybe it explains a few things...

Valerie Robertson
Practical Chemistry: Poison, Procedure, and Worst-Case Scenarios

Week 1 - Poison 101
Theory, mechanisms and specifics about better dying through chemistry. Why
poison is the hardest way to kill someone, including biological defenses.

Week 2 - Meanwhile, Back at the Lab
What really happens in a forensic analytical laboratory, including chain
of custody, types of analyses (quantitative, qualitative, DNA,
instrumentation) and the role of the expert witness.

Week 3 - Sphagnum Moss, Willow Bark and Spiderweb: Herbal Medicine that
The chemical basis of herbal medicine that might be available in a
worst-case or wilderness scenario, including pain relief, wound healing
and treatment of bacterial and viral infections.

Week 4 - Surburban Terrorism: Bombs from BisQuik
Includes bomb ingredients available at the supermarket and hardware store,
techniques to cripple a major city and wild reservoirs of potential
bioterrorism microbes in the US.

Looks good huh? Cut off for sign up is tomorrow. link

Word count
25,781/50,000 words and two sheep later


  1. Will it be safe to ever visit your house in the future? ;-)

    What happens if you freeze someone to death and then defrost them?

    See it's warming up nicely in Winnipeg now!

  2. Probably be safer ;) DH can cook :) Or you ;)

  3. Oh wow. I would be scared to death to work with chemicals. The most I ever did was my high school chemistry class.

  4. Sure, I believe its for an on-line class. I'm sure that the police will believe you also. *gg*

  5. melissa--handle with care and fume cupboards are your friends, and latex gloves. Occassionally masks, goggles. All very attractive atop your labcoat ;)

    Bails--please don't joke. I swear sometimes I worry...

  6. Anonymous3:59 pm

    I am beginning to worry Toni, are you planning something?

  7. Look at the faith you all have in me... who, I mean WHO would I poison????

  8. In my files I have the properties of arsenic and the symptoms of arsenic poisoning. I often wonder what people would think if they found that.

  9. Looks like this is the best class they have on all year! The weeks on herbal poisons and survivalist tips will be worth the months fee just by themselves. :)

  10. I'm giggling, Toni. The family is always the last to know. ;)

    Seriously, it sounds like an awesome course. I'd take it but I'm booked up with an agent finding course.

  11. Wow! Those classes sound great. I'm the eternally curious and the list is fantastic! Ooh, I like Deb's question!!
    And which poison is it that is derived from peach pits?

  12. I just finished Blue Blood (on audio) about a NYPD cop who, towards the end, writes about pulling body parts from the rubble of 9/11.

    He describes the gruesome job of identifying the bodies. They found a body and could get good finger prints, so one of the medical examiners cut and peeled the skin from the finger tips and put them over his own fingertips and rolled the prints that way.

    It would be hard to see, but I would really like to know more about these kinds of things.

  13. Bailey--arsenic. Oh yeah. The oldies are the goodies. I could make sick jokes but we'll leave it there...

    Brandy--I don't think we'll cover that but I figure the cells would all show frost damage and it wouldn't be that hard to determine. If you could supercool someone, now that would be interesting.

    Laurie--yes, did you sign up?

    M--that sounds like a great course!!

    Scott-those procedural books can be amazing. I have a few that turn the hairs on my head, but it is fascinating. But to live the job might be different.