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Intro to Forensic Science
Ms. Clark
What is Forensic Science?
What is Forensic Science?
• FORENSIC derives from the Latin word
“Forensis” which means “of the forum”
– An open area where scholars would debate
– Crimes were solved by debate
What is Forensic Science?
• “The application of scientific knowledge and
methodology to legal problems and criminal
Forensic Science Careers
Criminologist: Detectives that study physical evidence to link it to suspects
Digital/Multimedia Scientist: Assist in collecting & analyzing digital evidence
Toxicologist: Determine any substances in a victim’s or suspect’s system
Engineering Scientist: Analyze accidents and crime scenes to determine how,
when, and why things happened
Odontologist: Identify remains, usually using dental remains, and assist with
determining cause/time of death
Medical Examiner: Perform autopsies and assist with determining cause/time of
Anthropologist: Study the bones of a victim and assist with determining cause/time
or death
Entomologist: Study insect evidence and assist with determining time of death
Psychologist: Understand a victim or suspect from a mental health standpoint
Document Expert: Answer questions regarding documents, such as whether or not
a signature is real and if a document has been altered
An abbreviated history of Forensics
3 Century BC
Chinese use fingerprints to sign
contracts or as a “signature” on letters.
They were also used to sign art &
Marcello Malpighi
describes the
characteristics of
fingerprints – ridges,
spirals, loops
One of the first recorded instances of
physical evidence used to solve a crime.
Paper that was used to wrap a murder
weapon, was also found in the pocket of
John Toms, who was subsequently
convicted of murder.
Henry Faulds, a Scottish
physician, was the first scientist
to publish a report suggesting
fingerprints can be used to
identify criminals. While
working in Japan he used
fingerprints to clear an innocent
man of burglary.
Bertillon, a police
officer and
invented a system
of body
measurements that
was used to
identify criminals.
Alexandre Lacassagne, a French
physician and criminologist,
founded the Lacassagne school
of criminology in Lyon.
Edmund Locard worked as his
Was the first to use the grooves
on a bullet to match it to a gun.
Hans Gross, an Austrian criminologist,
publishes the first book on criminal
Sir Edward Henry
established the first
fingerprint classification
system in Britain.
Also credited with
introducing police dogs
to the London police
First official use of fingerprints in
the United States (New York City
Civil Service Commission).
President Theodore Roosevelt establishes the
Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Edmond Locard establishes the first
police crime lab. Formulated Locard’s
exchange principle – the basic principle
of forensic science, every contact
leaves a trace.
Detective Albert Schneider if the first
scientist to use a vacuum tool to collect
trace evidence.
John Larson and Leonard Keeler
develop the first polygraph machine
First US Crime lab established in Los
Angeles, California.
FBI consolidates over 800,000 fingerprint
files from across the United States.
America Association of Forensic Sciences
(A.A.F.S.) is founded in Chicago.
Electron microscope technique for the
detecting of gun shot residue is developed
at Aerospace Corporation.
The FBI introduces the Automated
Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
This system allows the computerized
scan of fingerprints.
Latent fingerprints are developed using
superglue for the first time.
Sir Alec Jeffreys, a British geneticist,
develops DNA fingerprinting.
The first use of DNA
fingerprinting in
England leads to the
conviction of Colin
Pitchford on charges
of murder.
The first use of DNA fingerprinting in the US
leads to the conviction of Tommy Lee
Andrews, in Orlando, Florida, on charges of
rape and burglary.
1992: the Innocence Project
The goal of the Innocence Project is to
exonerate persons who have been
wrongfully convicted of a crime.
Barry Scheck & Peter Neufeld
National Data Index System - FBI
database linking DNA data throughout the
United States.
all databases
Footwear Intelligence Technology is
developed in the UK; it’s the first footwear
coding system & database.
Any questions?