History of Forensic Science


China Village

1300 ad

This was the first recorded use of forsneic science. After a stabbing in a village, the residents found the murderer through forsensic observation. The villagers collected all of the knives in the village and found that flies were attracted to the knife with traces of blood on it. The one knife with flies on it belonged to the suspect, who prompltly confessed to the crime.

Mathieu Orfila


Orfila is considered the "Father of Forensic Toxicology". He famously perfected techniques to test for Arsenic, a common poison used for murder in his time.

William Herschel


Not to be confused with the astronomer, Herschel was a British ICS Officer. He used fingerprints to identify workers and sign contracts. He was the first to practically apply the unique quality of fingerprints.

Alphonse Bertillion


Titled " The Father of Criminal Identification" for his development of Anthropomentry, the practice of body measurements for identification. Before people had to be identified by pictures or name.

Henry Fauld


Fauld was famous for applying another aspect of forensics as evidence, fingerprints. Thanks to Fauld an accused man was found innocent through fingerprint evidence. Today fingerprints are a big part of criminal investigation.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Doyle was a writer and in 1887 he published the first Sherlock Holmes story. His character would go on the be featured in 3 of his novels, numerous short stories, and other media not made by him. The detective stories popularized many aspects of forensics

Francis Galton


Galton's research provided a breakthrough for forensics application in law enforcement and investigation. His book Finger Prints provided proof of the uniqueness of fingerprints.

Hans Gross


Gross published the scientific paper Criminal Investigation, which described and advocated for the use of scientific principles in the field of criminal investigation

Karl Landsteiner


Discovered the ABO blood groups, later received a nobel prize.

Edmond Locard


Took Gross' advice and applied scientific principles in a crime lab. His success led him to later become the founder and director of the Institute of Criminalistics at the University of Lyons, France.

Albert S. Osborn


Osborn's research focused on the examination of documents. He developed fundamental principles, and later published his book Questioned Documents.

Leone Lattes


Developed a method to distinguish blood type from dried blood samples

Augues Vollmer


Established the first ever crime lab in the United States, located in Los Angeles

Calvin Goddard


Developed the comparison microscope. The microscope is able to view two samples at once, so you can easily compare two things. It was first used to compare bullet samples

Sir Alec Jefferys


Jefferys is a geneticist, and in 1984 his advances DNA research led him to discovering a method of showing variations between peoples DNA fingerprint



In the past decade documenting forensic evidence had had some advancements in efficiency, but the biggest influence on the world of forensics is technology. Things like 3D printing, drones, laser scanners, have greatly improved documentation. Past techniques are constantly being put to use and pushed to the limits in our criminal justice system.