The topic of Forensic Science intrigues a lot of people. The large amount of television shows such as CSI, NCSI, Cold Case, Bones, Law & Order, and Body of Proof, just to name a few, is proof of this fascination that the public has for the science of crime scene investigation.
To learn more about this topic, try Forensics : Uncover the Science and Technology of Crime Scene Investigation by Carla Mooney. The best part is the awesome Inquire & Investigate forensic experiments that you can try yourself.
Did you ever hear of Locard’s Exchange Principle? Dr. Edmond Locard was a French police officer and medical examiner. “Locard believed that when two items make contact, they exchange a piece of their materials.” (page 11)
According to John Fuller from his article posted on How Stuff Works:
Locard believed that no matter where a criminal goes or what a criminal does, he will leave something at the scene of the crime. At the same time, he will also take something back with him. A criminal can leave all sorts of evidence, including fingerprints, footprints, hair, skin, blood, bodily fluids, pieces of clothing and more. By coming into contact with things at a crime scene, a criminal also takes part of that scene with him, whether it’s dirt, hair or any other type of trace evidence.
Did you know that Dactyloscopy is the study of fingerprint identification? (p12) According to Carla Mooney:
Criminals have tried to hide their identity by burning or shaving off their finger pads, but it doesn’t work. Their prints disappear for a period of time, but eventually the skin repairs itself and the prints reappear in their original pattern.
Did you know that there are 206 bones in the normal adult human body? (p46)
Did you know that a variety of marks and prints can be left behind at a crime scene?
Shoes, tools and tires all leave marks and impressions that forensic scientists can use to track down a suspect.
Taken together, a shoe’s wear pattern and other distinctive marks can make a shoe print as unique as a fingerprint.
Footprints can reveal details about the events at a crime scene. A footprint made by a person walking is different from one made by the same person running or carrying a heavy object.
For career information on becoming a forensic scientist, please see the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.