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Jack Gregory Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Request a Price Match. Quantity: Minimum Order: 25 copies per title Must be purchased in multiples of 25 copies. List Price:. Publisher Identifier:. Retail Price:. Overview With hands-on demonstrations, this book presents the science — and the realities — of forensic chemistry in a narrative style that makes this timely topic accessible to the nonchemist. Through more than twenty-five demonstrations, using ordinary household products and items, you can become familiar with the basics of forensic chemistry and gain insights into the painstaking work that goes into criminal investigations and is rarely seen on TV.

Product Details Series:. Prometheus Books.

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The exercise demonstrates the sensitivity of chemical tests with the detection of very small quantities of drugs, in this case, acetaminophen. The chapter continues with an introduction to atomic theory and describes the confirmatory tests used to prove the presence of drugs on currency.

It also discusses the use of isotope profiling to determine the provenance of drugs, a technique actually used by law enforcement for intelligence purposes.

Crime Solving With Chemistry

The authors do, however, exaggerate the value of isotope profiling. Chapter 4 covers the topic of separation sciences in drug analysis using a paper chromatography demonstration as an aid to the case description. Chapter 6 introduces the concept of mass spectrometry in the case example and with an exercise that illustrates the relationship between an electric field and a magnetic field. The authors then go on to provide an explanation of how a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer operates to separate and identify drugs.

Chapter 7 describes the steps in a death investigation resulting from a drug overdose using the notion of concentration differences and dosage effects on the body. The demonstration and case description in chapter 8 introduces the concept of the use of microcrystalline tests for the identification of chemical compounds, a technique that is still widely used in forensic laboratories today.

The use of gunshot residue GSR analysis can provide evidence that a person has recently fired a weapon, and chapter 13 describes the process for the detection of GSR particles. Chapter 16 introduces the concept of density gradients for the analysis and comparison of soils to determine whether two soil samples could have a common origin, a technique still used by forensic laboratories.

The next chapter describes the use of chemical extractions within the process of forensic examinations of unknowns, as it is often the case that police investigators will request investigative leads from fragments of materials found at crime scenes. The chapters in part three provide a good background description of how spectroscopy can be used for compound identification, in particular how infrared analysis can be used to identify the polymer type of fibers, even when only a single microscopic fiber is available for analysis.

This section also covers the use of optics and the microscope and includes a basic description of the scanning electron microscope, another common tool in the forensic laboratory. Arguably, the most significant advance in forensic science over the past 25 years has been the unambiguous identification of people through DNA when a comparison sample is available.

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Biological evidence such as the smallest amount of blood, for example, can place a suspect at a crime scene. Through more than twenty-five demonstrations, using ordinary household products and items, you can become familiar with the basics of forensic chemistry and gain insights into the painstaking work that goes into criminal investigations and is rarely seen on TV. If you're a fan of true-crime stories or mystery fiction, or interested in the science behind dramas like CSI, this informative and entertaining book is a must-have addition to your library.

She is currently an instructor of chemistry, calculus, and physics at Aiken Preparatory School and adjunct professor of chemistry at the University of South Carolina at Aiken.

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