|Has science solved any crimes? |
|Question Date: 2020-03-30|
Hi Avery! I actually work as a forensic scientist at a state crime laboratory!
Forensic science is the use of the scientific method to answer questions relating to crime. At the crime lab, we have several different departments that specialize in different things. Our fingerprint department looks for fingerprints on evidence, uses chemicals to help make them stand out, takes photos of them, and compares them to fingerprints from possible suspects.
The chemistry department determines whether particular substances might be illegal drugs or not. The firearms department looks at bullets/casings recovered at crime scenes and determines whether a particular gun might have fired it. They also do a ton of other things like recovering serial numbers, determining bullet trajectory, and looking at tool marks.
Finally, the forensic biology department looks for the presence of things like blood on evidence, purifies DNA, and determines whose DNA might have been left in the crime scene.
Each of our departments utilizes scientific techniques to answer their questions. The scientific method is very important in my work. We have to make sure that all of our tests work properly (we have to use a LOT of controls) and that we approach all of our questions with an open mind.
Avery, absolutely science has solved many crimes! Detectives use forensic science to gather evidence. For example, everybody has their own unique set of DNA. It's a really great way to identify a criminal! Another example is fingerprinting. Look at your fingers to see your fingerprints. Plus chemistry has been used to identify chemicals and test evidence! Not to mention using computer science to retrieve cell phone data.
Absolutely! Trace evidence (DNA, fingerprints, hair and fiber samples, etc.) has been used in a number of criminal cases to determine if a suspect is likely to have committed a crime. In fact, many criminal cases would not be solvable without this kind of evidence.
Yes, science is used to solve a lot of crimes. Here is just one example: sometimes, people make fake paintings, and claim they are lost works by famous artists in order to sell them for millions of dollars. These forgeries can be very convincing. If the artist is long-dead, how can anyone check whether the painting is real? Recently, scientists have used chemistry to look for clues. They can study the chemicals in the paint, and check whether that type of paint would have been used at that time in history. They can also measure tiny amounts of radioactive material in the canvas to determine when the painting was created. Of course, it's important that these methods don't damage the painting- so they often make use of light or x-rays. If you are interested in learning more, here is a link to an interview with a chemistry professor who is an expert on this topic: Science to detect art forgery in paintings.
There's a whole type of science called "forensic science." It helps to solve all sorts of crimes. Forensic scientists usually work with evidence from crime scenes to try to figure out what may have happened. They might test samples for poisons or drugs. They might look at fingerprints or DNA. Maybe they look at places after a fire to figure out whether it was accidental or arson. There are all sorts of ways that scientists can provide information about crimes.
Forensic scientists don't decide who is guilty, though. In the US, everyone is assumed to be innocent unless they are proven guilty at a trial. Forensic scientists may be asked to speak or testify at a trial. They present the evidence and the jury decides if the person is guilty.
Forensic scientists have to work very carefully, keep good notes, have open minds, and communicate well. If that sounds like you, you might want to become a forensic scientist.
Thanks for asking,
Yes, lots - there is an entire field called 'forensics' which is the use of the scientific method to solve crimes.
Yes! There is a whole field dedicated to this called forensic science. A particularly useful scientific tool is DNA analysis.
Yes! The science of solving crimes is called
Science helping us to solve crimes: Here.
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