History of Forensic Science

Events

3rd century (China)

200 - 299

The earliest record of application of forensic science:
3rd century in China

Before the 17th century

1601 - 1699

Guilty person would confess under
torture, while God would give an
innocent person the strength to 
resist the pain.

Carl Wilhelm Scheele

1775

He was a Swedish Chemist devised a test for detecting Arsenic in corpses
(the inheritance powder)

Valentin Ross (German)

1806

discovered more precise 
method for detecting small amounts of Arsenic

Mathieu Orilla

1814

(Spanish) aka 'Father of Forensic 
Toxicology' published article on detection of poisons and 
effects

Microscopes

1828

Polarizing microscope invented

toxicological evidence

1839

1st use of toxicological evidence in criminal trial

Photographs

1850 - 1860

(allowed more accurate recording)

1st blood test

1863

1st presumptive test for blood

Alphonse Bertillon

1879

(French) introduced the Bertillon's 
system (aka Anthropometry)
a system for identifying people by their physical appearance and was considered to be the most accurate method of personal 
identiication for nearly 2 decades
he ended up replacing by fingerprinting in 1903

Sherlock Holmes

1887 - 1893

The most inluential ictional character  created 
by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; his inluence 
can be compared to that of the modern CSI shows 
today.

London's well know killer

1888

London terrorized by a serial killer "Jack the Ripper"

Criminal Investigation by Hans Gross

1893

Hans Gross (Austrian) 
published; the 1st book of criminal investigation using 
forensic science

Karl  Landsteiner

1901

Discovered ABO blood typing

Will West case

1903

Case of misidentiication of two men  whose 
Bertillon's  measurements were nearly identical.  
It led to the end of Anthropometry.

Albert Osborn

1910

Published "Questioned Documents"

Locard's Exchange Principle

1913

Edmond Locard (French)
When 2 objects come into contact with each other, a cross‑
transfer of materials occurs that can connect a criminal 
suspect to the victim or the crime scene.  Locard also started 
the irst known police crime lab.

LAPD

1923

Los Angeles PD Crime Lab (the irst in USA)

University of Berkeley

1930

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

FBI National Laboratory opens

1932

FBI National Laboratory opens under Director J. Edgar 
Hoover

Microscopes

1939

irst microscopic detection of  sperm

FBI Forensic Science Research & Training Center opens

1981

Walter McCrone

1999

'Father of Modern Microscopy'