The Science of Airport Security

Caroline McEnnis
Whiting School of Engineering
Johns Hopkins University

7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The hassle of airport security is an accepted part of air travel. Travelers deal with long lines, frustration, and awkwardness in order to get to their flights. The key components of airline security are the machines that we put things into and walk through (and which contribute to the long lines.) We are told that these machines make our flights safer, but how do they work and what dangers are they able to identify?

In this science café we will look at the technology currently deployed in airports, as well as those technologies that are on the horizon. We will go over the scientific concepts that these instruments exploit and what this science tells us about the dangers that our airport security can detect. Some of these technologies also bring up serious ethical concerns and we will briefly explore the intersection of these concerns with the security goals.

Here is an audio recording of this science cafe in mp3 format.

Click here for a flyer for this event.