History of Forensic Science


Earliest record of application of Forensic Science


Song Ci- physician and judge that helped solve a crime by opening up pigs that were caught in a fire and comparing their lungs to the ones of the man who supposedly died in a fire



Being accused of anything during this time period was a very bad as it would mean that you were put under different torture methods, depending on the level of crime.
The court system was based off of torture methods and the survival of the one tortured would determine their fate. If the victim could resist the pain, they were thought to have the help of God to show their innocence. If you couldn't resist and were close to dying, you were considered guilty.

Carl W. Scheele


Known for discovering many chemical substances like barium, hydrogen, chloride and oxygen.
Created his own test to detect arsenic (found in poisons) in corpses
Died at an early age (43) due to his constant testing of toxic chemicals on himself

Valentin Ross


German Chemist
Discovered more precise method to detect smaller amounts of arsenic

Mathieu Orilla


Known as The Father of Toxicology
Published first article on detection of poisons and its effects
Helped establish forensic toxicology as a legitimate science as he studied and became King Louis XVIII 's royal physician and a professor at the Athenee of Paris, which helped him become a reliable source

So what?


These two chemists and their discoveries are important because they used chemical tests that allowed concealed evidence, which was probably never possible to discover before, become easier to find.

Polarizing Microscope Invented


Invented by Nicol William in 1828, but was made public news until 1829 when he published an article about it

So what?


The invention of the microscope and the detection of sperm using it were important because it allowed more physical evidence to become discovered and later used in a trial

Microscopic Detection of Sperm


detected by Henri-Louis Bayard

First use of Toxicological Evidence in Criminal Trial


Mathieu Orfilia, was called to be an expert witness to help decide whether Marie LaFarge had poisoned his husband's coffee

Use of Photography


The first photograph was taken in 1826 and it was commercially introduced in 1839. It took almost 2 decades for it to be used in crime scenes. The use of photography helped recording and documentation become more accurate

First Presumptive Test For Blood


Bertillon's System


Introduced by Alphonse Bertillon
System used to ID people using documentation of physical properties and appearance
Was considered the most accurate method to ID people for 2 decades
Replaced by fingerprinting in 1903

Sherlock Holmes

1887 - 1893

Fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan that influenced modern CSI shows

Jack the Ripper


Serial killer in London that was never identified

Criminal Investigation by Hans Gross


First book of criminal investigation using forensic science

ABO blood typing discovered by Karl Landsteiner


Will West case


William West and Will West were misidentified as they both had very similar physical properties
This was crucial was it made Bertillon's system finally be seen as inefficient and led to the use of fingerprinting

Questioned Documents published by Albert Osborn


Lifted standards on reliability and legitimacy of documents

Locard's Exchange Principle by Edmond Locard


When two objects come in contact, a cross transfer of materials can occur, making it easier to connect a criminal or suspect to a victim or crime scene.

Walter McCrone

1916 - 2002

Father of Modern Microscopy

LAPD Crime Lab


first in USA

University of California at Berkeley Criminalistics Department led by Dr. Paul Kirk


FBI National Laboratory opens under J. Edgar Hoover


FBI Forensic Science Research and Training center opens