Bill's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Poor, Lazy Overachievers

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Knoxville, TN

  • AIRED ON:

    Public Television: Season 7

  • ON DVD:

BILL BASS

Forensic Anthropologist

“Success is not just the amount of money you make; it’s more intellectual. I mean, I am happy, happy, and I’m making enough to eat, but not a lot.”

INTERESTS:

Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Passion Success Self-Reflection Education Family Chance Pride Money & Financial Security Culture

FOUNDATION:

Problem-Solving

TAGS:

autopsy, bones, certainty, challenge, cold case, college, death, dissertation, DNA, epiphany, family, intellectual, mourning, murder, only child, osteology, parents, technology, thesis, time

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Grew up as an only child in an educated family; both parents had college degrees, unusual for 1920s.
  • Had been studying osteology when a professor invited him to come help him ID a body.
  • Arrived on the scene of a great mystery—two trucks had crashed, but there was a third body, in addition to two drivers.
  • When his professor was able to positively identify the third person, “like in the cartoons,” a light went on.
  • Switched his major immediately, knew he wanted to go into forensic anthropology.
  • Never had a midlife crisis because he knows he made the right choice.
  • In general, he hates death and funerals, but in his profession, a dead body is a challenge, brings him a strange joy.
  • Knows what he does “matters,” brings closure to families, brings criminals to justice.

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