Winners from the Class of 2017

Bridget Jones, “Viewed from a Distance: Gender Roles of Irene Adler and Lisa Freemont”

This essay on the film Rear Window and the episode “A Scandal in Belgravia” from the television drama Sherlock analyzes how the audience’s perceptions of “gender and gender roles” are manipulated through the use of cinematic techniques. Jones argues that the directors “actively set up, break down, and rearrange” the audience’s perceptions of the female characters, Lisa Freemont and Irene Adler. By skillfully comparing almost identical shots from the two works, Jones uncovers how these conventionally beautiful and feminine characters actually embody “complex gender roles.”

Melissa Rifkin, “Golden Opportunities: Transforming Fingerprint Analysis”

Calling into question the unrealistic representation of law enforcement work portrayed on television, Rifkin maintains that, in actuality, forensics experts have a “minimal chance” of determining the origins of faded fingerprints – that is, until recent “developments in nanotechnology implementing gold nanoparticles.” Drawing on sources from chemistry and criminal justice, she examines how gold nanoparticles are used to “locate prints on porous surfaces, identify specific drug metabolites, and highlight degraded or aged prints.” Her essay sheds light on the importance of nanotechnology and its potential impact on solving crimes.