Benecke, Mark 1970–

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Benecke, Mark 1970–

PERSONAL: Born 1970, in Rosenheim, Germany. Education: University of Cologne, B.S., 1994, Ph.D., 1997.

ADDRESSES: Office—International Forensic Research and Consulting, Postfach 250411, 50520 Cologne, Germany. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York, NY, forensic biologist, 1997–99; University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, professor of zoology, 1999; International Forensic Research and Consulting, Cologne, Germany, 2000–. Visiting assistant professor, University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 1999; Institute for Legal Medicine, Bogota, Colombia, 1999. Forensic entomology trainer, Police Academy of Germany, 1997, 1999. Scientific consultant at numerous universities and at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Quantico, VA. Guest lecturer, Columbia University, John Jay College, University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Freiburg, and University of Konstanz. Scientific consultant, Dracula Unearthed, National Geographic Television.

MEMBER: International Academy of Legal Medicine, International Society of Forensic Genetics, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, German Society for Legal Medicine, German Zoological Society, Society of German Natural Scientists and Medical Doctors, Colombian Society for Legal Medicine, Linnean Society (fellow).

AWARDS, HONORS: Medal of honor, Association of the Criminal Police (Germany), 2002.

WRITINGS:

The Dream of Eternal Life: Biomedicine, Aging, and Immortality, translated by Rachel Rubenstein, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Murderous Methods: Using Forensic Science to Solve Lethal Crimes, translated by Karin Heusch, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Also author of Scientists and Inventors, 1997; Forensic Biology, 1999; Criminal Cases of the 20th Century, 2002; and Handbuch Rechtsmedizin, 2003. Coauthor, Entomological Evidence, 2000. Coeditor, Annals of Improbable Research, 1995–, and Forensic Science International. Contributor of articles to scholarly journals.

SIDELIGHTS: Mark Benecke earned a Ph.D. in the study of entomology, concentrating on the biological strains of certain genera of insects. His interests transcend the boundaries of that scientific endeavor, however. Since 1997 Benecke has traveled the globe lecturing and studying the uses of forensic science to solve murders, and the use of biomedical advances to slow the aging process. Benecke's two books, translated from the German, examine these topics in a style that is accessible to a general readership.

The Dream of Eternal Life: Biomedicine, Aging, and Immortality is in part a philosophical exploration of the inevitability of death and in part a description of ways in which scientific advances can prolong and enhance life. Benecke covers not only the probable ways in which biologists might extend the human lifespan—manipulating DNA and creating pharmaceuticals to counter the effects of aging—but also the less plausible scenarios, including cryogenics. In Booklist, William Beatty called the book "thought-provoking." Commonweal contributor F. Gonzalez-Crussi concluded that Benecke's material "is interesting … and is framed in a concise, lucid language. Readers ought to find it informative and enjoyable." The reviewer concluded: "The impact of biotechnology on our lives is now of unprecedented magnitude, and public education on basic principles is urgent. Benecke contributes substantially to this end."

In Murderous Methods: Using Forensic Science to Solve Lethal Crimes, Benecke revisits some of the most notorious murder cases of the twentieth century and discusses how forensic evidence helped to incriminate such killers as Jeffrey Dahmer, German serial murderer Karl Denke, and the kidnapper of Charles Lindbergh's young son. Sidebars cover facts about violent death, facial reconstruction, and genetic fingerprinting. A critic for Kirkus Reviews noted: "This hodgepodge of crime stories is definitely not for the squeamish." Library Journal correspondent David Alperstein, in contrast, felt that the book would appeal to a wide readership because it "reads like true-crime literature."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2002, William Beatty, review of The Dream of Eternal Life: Biomedicine, Aging, and Immortality, p. 1370; October 15, 2005, Mike Tribby, review of Murderous Methods: Using Forensic Science to Solve Lethal Crimes, p. 8.

Commonweal, September 27, 2002, F. Gonzalez-Crussi, "Never Say Die," p. 24.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Murderous Methods, p. 949.

Library Journal, October 1, 2005, David Alperstein, review of Murderous Methods, p. 94.

Quarterly Review of Biology, December, 2002, Michael R. Rose, review of The Dream of Eternal Life, p. 483.

Publishers Weekly, September 19, 2005, review of Murderous Methods, p. 54.

Science News, May 18, 2002, Cait Goldberg, review of The Dream of Eternal Life, p. 319.

ONLINE

Mark Benecke Home Page, http://www.benecke.com (December 5, 2005).