FNSC5613 Introduction to Forensic Chemistry
- 6 points
|Not available in 2020||UWA (Perth)||Face to face|
- This unit is delivered by competent forensic professionals. The lecture topics covered include (1) an introduction to chemical analysis—basic principles of analytical chemistry and terminology; (2) sampling and sample preparation—principles of sampling schemes, how to decide on sampling methods, numbers etc.; (3) instrumentation—types of instruments used, how they work and what they can be used for, strengths and weaknesses of various instruments and applications in specific analytical regimes; (4) analysis of physical evidence—sampling, preparation and analysis of various types of physical evidence; (5) geochemistry and geology—basic principles of geology and geochemistry as related to provenance establishment of dusts and soil samples; (6) soil science—structure of soils, composition, diagenesis, use and abuse of soil evidence; (7) food and organic matrices—analysis of organic matrices and interpretation of analytical data; (8) GLP, QA and QC, method validation; (9) chemometrics and statistics—appropriate use of statistics and chemometrics in the interpretation of scene-of-crime chemical evidence; (10) taphonomy—decomposition, post-mortem transport, burial, compaction, and other chemical and physical activity which affects the remains of an organism; and (11) data interpretation—what can and cannot be said about chemical data in a courtroom. The practicals include (1) physical evidence—deciphering mixed evidence, its analysis and data interpretation; (2) soils—field collection and analysis and relation to crime scene; and (3) environmental—field collection and analysis of environmental samples to determine provenance.
- Students are able to (1) understand the role and scope of modern analytical chemistry techniques in forensic science and their relative appropriateness to crime solving; (2) develop a problem solving practical approach to chemical forensics; (3) analyse and interpret analytical chemical data in the context of a forensic science based investigation; (4) apply statistical and chemometrical techniques to the interpretation of chemical data; (5) understand the role of geological and pedological processes in the development of soil types and the interpretation for soil-based data in the context of an investigation; (6) understand the relationship of soil and environment to physical and chemical taphonomy; (7) understand the relationship between soil, climate and agricultural practices to the development of specific elemental fingerprints in the determination of provenance of food and drugs; and (8) understand the concept of inter-elemental and inter-isotopic fingerprints in the interpretation of chemical data and provenance determination of scene-of-crime evidence.
- Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a literature-based research project (written report) on a specific application of forensic chemistry to crime-scene investigation (20 per cent); (2) a presentation of this work in a seminar on the subject to be graded by peer review and supervisor review (10 per cent); (3) a laboratory report on a field work exercise (10 per cent); (4) a laboratory report on a laboratory-based exercise (10 per cent); and (5) a two-hour written examination (50 per cent). Further information is available in the unit outline.
Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
- Unit Coordinator(s)
- Associate Professor Daniel Franklin
- Unit rules
- FNSC8551 Instrumentation (Chemical Instrumentation), FNSC8552 Soils and Taphonomy
- Contact hours
- lectures: 1–2 hours per week; labs: 1–2 hours per week; field work: a full-day field trip
- The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
- All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
- Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.