Introduction to Forensic Science

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About this course: We have all seen forensic scientists in TV shows, but how do they really work? What is the science behind their work? The course aims to explain the scientific principles and techniques behind the work of forensic scientists and will be illustrated with numerous case studies from Singapore and around the world. Some questions which we will attempt to address include: How did forensics come about? What is the role of forensics in police work? Can these methods be used in non-criminal areas? Blood. What is it? How can traces of blood be found and used in evidence? Is DNA chemistry really so powerful? What happens (biologically and chemically) if someone tries to poison …

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Didn't find what you were looking for? See also: Forensic Science, Science, Software / System Engineering, English (FCE / CAE / CPE), and Teaching Skills.

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: We have all seen forensic scientists in TV shows, but how do they really work? What is the science behind their work? The course aims to explain the scientific principles and techniques behind the work of forensic scientists and will be illustrated with numerous case studies from Singapore and around the world. Some questions which we will attempt to address include: How did forensics come about? What is the role of forensics in police work? Can these methods be used in non-criminal areas? Blood. What is it? How can traces of blood be found and used in evidence? Is DNA chemistry really so powerful? What happens (biologically and chemically) if someone tries to poison me? What happens if I try to poison myself? How can we tell how long someone has been dead? What if they have been dead for a really long time? Can a little piece of a carpet fluff, or a single hair, convict someone? Was Emperor Napoleon murdered by the perfidious British, or killed by his wallpaper? *For Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students, please be noted that this course will no longer be eligible for credit transfer.

Created by:  Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Taught by:  Roderick Bates , Associate Professor

    Division of Chemistry & Biological Chemistry | School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Language English, Subtitles: Greek How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.9 stars Average User Rating 4.9See what learners said Coursework

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Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Young and research-intensive, Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is ranked 13th globally. It is also placed 1st amongst the world’s best young universities. NTU has about 33,000 students in the colleges of engineering, science, business, education, humanities, arts, social sciences. Its medical school is set up jointly with Imperial College London. A melting pot of international award-winning scientists, young talents and eminent global partners, NTU is also home to several world-class research institutes that builds on its strengths in interdisciplinary research.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Information



7 readings expand


  1. Reading: Course Overview
  2. Reading: Connect With Us
  3. Reading: Your Instructor
  4. Reading: Glossary
  5. Reading: Recommended Readings
  6. Reading: Credits
  7. Reading: Code of Conduct


Introduction to Forensic Science



11 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Opinion Poll 1
  3. Video: Week 1 - 1 Basic Ideas in Forensic Science
  4. Video: Week 1 - 2 What is Forensic Science?
  5. Video: Week 1 - 3 Application of Forensic Science
  6. Video: Week 1 - 4 Limits of Forensic Science
  7. Video: Week 1 - 5 Locard's Exchange Principle
  8. Video: Week 1 - 6 Roberto Calvi Case
  9. Video: Week 1 - 7 Buck Ruxton & the Jigsaw Murders Case
  10. Video: Week 1 - 8 Forensic Laboratories
  11. Video: Week 1 - 9 Reconstruction & Re-enactment
  12. Video: Week 1 - 10 The Woodchipper Murder Case; Summary


WEEK 2


Chemical Analysis in Forensic Science



12 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Opinion Poll 2
  3. Video: Week 2A - 1 Introduction to Atomic Structure
  4. Video: Week 2A - 2 Structure of the Atom
  5. Video: Week 2A - 3 Elemental Analysis
  6. Video: Week 2A - 4 Analysis of Microscopic Objects
  7. Video: Week 2A - 5 Napoleon Case
  8. Video: Week 2A - 6 JFK Assassination Case
  9. Video: Week 2A - 7 "Adam" Case; Summary
  10. Video: Week 2B - 1 Introduction to Chromatography
  11. Video: Week 2B - 2 GC & HPLC
  12. Video: Week 2B - 3 Infrared Spectroscopy
  13. Video: Week 2B - 4 Mass Spectrometry; Summary


WEEK 3


Time of Death; Blood



11 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Week 3A - 1 Recent Deaths
  3. Video: Week 3A - 2 Decomposing Bodies I (Putrefaction)
  4. Video: Week 3A - 3 Decomposing Bodies II (Forensic Entomology)
  5. Video: Week 3A - 4 Analysis of Skeletal Remains I
  6. Video: Week 3A - 5 Analysis of Skeletal Remains II
  7. Video: Week 3A - 6 Ötzi Case; Summary
  8. Video: Week 3B - 1 Blood
  9. Video: Week 3B - 2 Tests for Blood
  10. Video: Week 3B - 3 Precipitin Technology
  11. Video: Week 3B - 4 Blood Spatter Analysis
  12. Video: Week 3B - 5 Lord Lucan Case; Summary

Graded: Week 3 (MCQ Set 1)

WEEK 4


DNA in Forensics



12 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Opinion Poll 3
  3. Video: Week 4 - 1 Introduction to DNA
  4. Video: Week 4 - 2 Techniques used in DNA Profiling
  5. Video: Week 4 - 3 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  6. Video: Week 4 - 4 Short Tandem Repeats (STR)
  7. Video: Week 4 - 5 Colin Pitchfork Case
  8. Video: Week 4 - 6 Cold Cases I
  9. Video: Week 4 - 7 Cold Cases II
  10. Video: Week 4 - 8 Early Uses of DNA Profiling
  11. Video: Week 4 - 9 Mitochondrial DNA
  12. Video: Week 4 - 10 DNA Profiling of Other Species
  13. Video: Week 4 - 11 Peter Falconio & Joanne Lees Case; Summary

Graded: The Ang Mo Kio Case

WEEK 5


Fingerprinting; Polymers & Fibres; Firearms



11 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Week 5A - 1 History of Fingerprinting
  3. Video: Week 5A - 2 Principles of Fingerprinting
  4. Video: Week 5A - 3 Visualising Fingerprints
  5. Video: Week 5A - 4 Brandon Mayfield Case; Summary
  6. Video: Week 5B - 1 Introduction to Polymers & Fibres
  7. Video: Week 5B - 2 Natural Polymers
  8. Video: Week 5B - 3 Hair
  9. Video: Week 5B - 4 Wayne Williams Case
  10. Video: Week 5B - 5 Sarah Payne Case; Summary
  11. Video: Week 5C - 1 Internal Ballistics
  12. Video: Week 5C - 2 Gun Shot Residue; Summary

Graded: Week 5 (MCQ Set 2)

WEEK 6


Narcotics



7 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Opinion Poll 4
  3. Video: Week 6 - 1 Types of Illegal Drugs
  4. Video: Week 6 - 2 Cocaine
  5. Video: Week 6 - 3 Opium, Morphine & Heroin
  6. Video: Week 6 - 4 Synthetic Drugs
  7. Video: Week 6 - 5 Analogs
  8. Video: Week 6 - 6 Detection and Identification of Drugs; Summary

Graded: Ruritania Case Study, "The Sturgkh Assassination"

WEEK 7


Toxicology



12 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Week 7 - 1 Introduction to Toxicology
  3. Video: Week 7 - 2 Deliberate & Accidental Poisoning
  4. Video: Week 7 - 3 Toxins & Biological Poisons
  5. Video: Week 7 - 4 LD50
  6. Video: Week 7 - 5 Forensic Toxicology
  7. Video: Week 7 - 6 Alcohol
  8. Video: Week 7 - 7 Inorganic Poisons - Arsenic
  9. Video: Week 7 - 8 Inorganic Poisons - Thallium
  10. Video: Week 7 - 9 Inorganic Poisons - Barium
  11. Video: Week 7 - 10 Nerve Agents
  12. Video: Week 7 - 11 Georgi Markov Case
  13. Video: Week 7 - 12 Alexander Litvinenko Case; Summary

Graded: Week 7 (MCQ Set 3)

WEEK 8


Case Studies



8 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Lecture Materials
  2. Video: Opinion Poll 5
  3. Video: Week 8 - 1 King Richard III Case
  4. Video: Week 8 - 2 Annie Le Case
  5. Video: Week 8 - 3 June Devaney Case
  6. Video: Week 8 - 4 JonBenét Ramsey Case
  7. Video: Week 8 - 5 The Unabomber Case; Psychological Profiling
  8. Video: Week 8 - 6 The Soham Murders Case
  9. Video: Week 8 - 7 Dr. Crippen Case
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