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FOCAS Research Institute - Science of Crime Tour

Posted: 19 January, 2015

On the 12th of November 2014, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the FOCAS Research Institute and Science Week 2014, the inaugural 'Science of Crime' Tour entitled 'Can you get away with murder?' was hosted.

The tour entitled – “Can you get away with murder?” was designed by Dr Hedderman-Bowe and Dr O’ Neill and was specifically tailored for secondary school students. The idea behind the tour was to create a community outreach vehicle where secondary school students could be brought onto the FOCAS premises and introduced to the technology and potential careers arising from pursuing science in DIT. Furthermore it was an opportunity to showcase science and research in DIT and the capabilities of our state of the art equipment.  The unique selling point of this tour is that it is 100% interactive, thereby giving students the chance to take part in real life science and at the same time honing their natural curiosity.

Can you get away with Murder!!!!

The tour opens with the students being briefed by two detectives as to what they were presented with on arriving at the crime scene. Next, the students put on their forensic suits and entered the crime scene where they collected evidence for analysis.

The evidence is bagged and tagged from the crime scene and placed into an evidence box. With the evidence secured the students change out of their forensics suits and into their laboratory coats. The evidence collected at the scene is available to them on reaching the laboratory. The students use a variety of techniques such as compound microscopes, UV/Vis absorption spectroscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Raman and Fluorescence spectroscopy. The samples are run in a logical progression allowing the student to build up a picture of the possible causes of death in the victim. 

After analysing all of the crime scene samples on the various instruments, the students collect and take the data to the board room for discussion. The scientific evidence is examined and the cause of death of the victim is established. Using the police reports on the suspects and the scientific evidence, the CSI agents were able to match up the evidence with possible suspects.

The tour was a great success and received such a high level of positive feedback that subsequent tours were run for schools in the greater Dublin area.