CLFS 619D:

Forensic Chemistry


Dr. Michelle Brooks



3 Credits
Course Description 
Have you ever watched "CSI" and thought, "Wow, how do they figure this stuff out?". Or wondered why all of the work is done in a dark lab? If you've 
ever been intrigued by forensic science, then this is the course for you!! This course will focus on both the legal and scientific aspects of modern 
forensic chemistry. We will learn about the most common forms of trace analysis (drug, combustion, arson, inks, pigments, polymers, fibers) including 
the types of methods used (atomic spectroscopy, chromatography, microspectrophotometry, electrophoresis, immunoassays) to analyze samples and 
the limitations, accuracy, and reproducibility of each technique. Class discussions will focus on the differences between the law and science, the effect
of pop culture and shows like CSI on the judicial process, how scientific testimony can help and hurt a defendant’s chance of acquittal, and the use of 
the scientific method in forensic laboratories. The final class project will allow you to use what you’ve learned to critique the portrayal of forensic 
chemistry in popular culture. I can't guarantee that we'll catch the bad guy in the end, but at least you'll have the tools to discover who's been stealing 
socks from the dryer!