The College of New Jersey

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Chemistry Prof Works with Cub Scouts on Forensics

Dr. John Allison of the Chemistry Department, whose research interests include analytical techniques to forensic science, shared his expertise at the den meeting of 13 Cub Scouts (8-9 yrs old) in Chesterfield, NJ recently. The Scouts are working on forensic badges. Under the guidance of Dr. Allison, they spent more than an hour practicing how to dust for fingerprints and how to find fingerprints chemically (using iodine). The Scouts were all fingerprinted themselves and used UV light with special glasses to look at fingerprints dusted with fluorescent powders. Dr. Allison enhanced the experience by telling the Scouts some fingerprint related stories. Also, he directed them in the use of a hand-held USB microscope to look at the pores on the ridge lines of their fingers, and the Scouts were able to watch sweat come out of the pores. The Scouts looked at many other things with the microscope as well, including hair, ears, moles, shirts, and even a tongue. A good time was had by all as the Scouts learned the nature of forensic science.

To see notes from the Scouts click: