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14 Amazing Forensic Science Techniques

Video   Mar 01, 2018

 

Here are 14 of the most amazing science techniques and technology that lets us carbon date and even do age progression! Here are the top 7:

7. Ballistics

This side of science involves everything that has to do with  the flight, behavior, effects, and launching of projectiles such as gravity bombs and rockets but when most people say ballistics they’re referring to bullets. Ballistics is broken down into four main categories. These are internal ballistics, transitional ballistics, external ballistics, and terminal ballistics. In the field of forensics, ballistics is used to analyze the bullet itself and its impact to see if the information found can be used in a court of law.   


6. DNA Sequencer

This scientific device is used to help figure out the order in which the four bases of DNA are arranged in in a specific sample of DNA. For those of you that don’t remember the four bases from high school biology, they are guanine, cytosine, adenine, and thymine. Crime lab technicians and forensic scientists alike use a DNA sequencer when their DNA sample is too deteriorated in order to get a special DNA pattern that can aid in identifying the criminal. This special DNA pattern is called a “read”.


5. Hair Analysis

One of the key elements that usually ends up putting criminals in jail is something that they’ve managed to completely overlook. That one small detail that plays a crucial part in their conviction is DNA. DNA evidence can range from bodily fluids such as blood or seminal fluids and fingerprints. However, clothing fibers and hair are just as important. The average person loses around 60-100 hairs per day and there’s no way you could keep track of where they fall. This works in favor of the forensics team. It was recently announced that human hair protein could potentially replace DNA as a key tool in forensics because of special markers that could  allow the hair to distinguish an individual from a large group of people, say one million.


4. Polymerase Chain Reaction

Abbreviated as PCR, the polymerase chain reaction technique was created by Kary Mullis back in the 1980’s and has gone on to be used in many different applications such as molecular biology and forensic science. Basically what PCR does is that it takes a single copy of DNA and replicates it around thousands to millions of times enough to where forensic scientists are able to successfully test it to match the DNA evidence of the potential suspect. This was a major breakthrough for cases that didn’t have enough DNA evidence to solve their cases and allowed these cases to be solved decades after they were committed.


3. Forensic Facial Reconstruction

The first time a facial reconstruction was done was back in 1883 and then again in 1895. This technique combines several different fieldsー anthropology, anatomy, osteology, forensic science, and artistry in order to help solve the identity of someone that isn’t known by using their skeletal remains. This technique is quite controversial as it does prove to be somewhat problematic. Facial tissue thickness is the main issue that plagues this method but also the methodological standardization of the individual’s facial features. Even though it’s not completely accurate it has proven useful in identifying victims and putting away perpetrators behind bars. 


2. Fingerprint Analysis

There are considered to be hundreds of techniques in order to detect fingerprints, however, most of them are only for academic interest and there’s really only roughly 20 methods that are extremely accurate and used in fingerprint labs all over the world. This is because fingerprints are classified into three groups: three-dimensional plastic prints, patent prints, and latent prints that each vary depending on the type of surface the print was discovered on. The most common method used to convict criminals has been dusting where forensic scientists use black granular powder to locate the prints and then lift them with an adhesive tape, though the powder does have the potential to contaminate the evidence. 


1. Luminol Spray

Perhaps one of, if not, the most important techniques that forensic scientists have under their belt is luminol. This chemical can be traced back to 1928 when a German Chemist named H.O. Albrecht discovered that blood is able to make this chemical glow. See, the reason that this is possible is thanks to the iron that is found in the hemoglobin of blood and acts as a catalyst that sets off the chemical reaction. The chemical will then give off a blue glow but in order to be visible the room has to be dark enough and luminol only lasts up to 30 seconds so forensic photographers have to work very fast.

 
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