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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Speaker to talk about JFK conspiracy theory

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KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 27, 2006 -- Herman Chernoff, Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, will speak about bullets and their echoes picked up on police radios during the JFK assassination. His talk at the University of Rhode Islandís Kingston campus will be held on Friday, April 7, in Atrium II Memorial Union at 2 p.m. URIís Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Honors Program and Visiting Scholars Committee and the Rhode Island Chapter of The American Statistical Association are the talkís sponsors. It is free and open to the public.

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy has attracted the attention of conspiracy theorists who reject the conclusions of the Warren Commission. A select committee of the House of Representatives reopened the investigation in 1979 after it was discovered that the CIA had failed to notify the Warren Commission that there had been a failed plot to assassinate Cubaís Fidel Castro during the Kennedy administration.

During the Kennedy assassination, the police used two radio channels. Channel 1 had been assigned for ordinary police work and channel 2 for the motorcade. A microphone had been in the stuck position for transmitting on channel 1 for about 5 minutes, overlapping the assassination.

To consider the possibility that the microphone had recorded the shots and related echoes in Dealey Plaza, an analysis of the recordings was carried out which concluded there was a probability of 0.95 that a shot had been fired from the grassy knoll along the route.

The FBI challenged this conclusion and an ensuing analysis by the Committee on Ballistic Acoustics of the National Research Council rejected that conclusion as unsound, using evidence of cross talk on the two channels. Since then the NRC report has been criticized and that criticism was recently rejected by a group consisting mainly of a few of the members of the original NRC committee.