Who Was Detective X? In the gangster era of Prohibition and the Great Depression, a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards, now NIST, brought modern ideas to the then-emerging field of forensic science.
His name was Wilmer Souder. A physicist at the National Bureau of Standards, now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Souder played an important role in the early days of forensic science. He helped send countless murderers, bootleggers, gangsters and thieves to prison, and he kept such a low profile partly out of concern for his and his family’s safety. Perhaps as a result, he was not long remembered for his forensic work, and his influence on the developing field of forensic science was not as great as it might have been.
The documentary, "Detective X: (Re) Discovering Wilmer Souder," follows NIST scientist John Butler and historian Kristen Frederick-Frost as they team up to discover Souder's mostly forgotten legacy.
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