Forensic Medicine, The Beginning


Forensic medicine goes back many years and has many people who have made tremendous strides to bring it to where it is today. Forensic medicine has ancient origins. What are thought to be some of the first descriptions of how to examine injuries were found carved on pieces of bamboo dating back to the Qin dynasty in China, from about 220 BC. William Hunter, form the United Kingdom, in the 18th century had the first publication pertaining to forensic medicine. “He essays were on injuries found on murdered bastard children.”
There have been many people who have developed methods in forensics medicine to identify either the victim or the perpetrator. Mathieu Joseph Orfila (1787-1853). He is considered the father of toxicology. “Orfila worked to make chemical analysis a routine part of forensic medicine.” He is credited for being the first person to use a microscope to assess blood and semen stains. Alphonse Bertillon (1853-1914) was the son of a French medical professor. He was a criminologist and anthropologist who created the first system of physical measurements, photography, and record keeping that police could use to only identify recidivist criminals. Juan Vucetich (1858-1925) was an Argentinean police official who was the first person to devise a workable system of finger printing. The first case that was solved using his system was in 1892. The case ended in the conviction of a suspect for 1st degree murder. There have been many more people who have also worked to develop methods of identification in forensic medicine. In the 20th century there one technology that was discovered and is the most useful tool in forensic medicine today. This technology has acquitted and convicted many people in a crime and that is DNA. The following is a list of people who all had a part in the development of DNA. “ James Watson, a biologist from Indiana University, and Francis Crick, a physicist, were working at the Cavendish Lab in Cambridge, England on the structure of DNA. Maurice Wilkins, a New Zealand physicist who had worked on the Manhattan Project, was the deputy director of the King’s College biophysics lab. Linus Pauling was a Caltech chemist, who in 1951 had discovered the alpha helical nature of protein structure. Rosalind Franklin was a 30-year-old English chemist who was working in an X-ray crystallography lab in Paris, France in 1951. Erwin Chargaff was a professor of biochemistry at Columbia University who discovered that the molar base ratios of A equal T and G equal C, and helped solidify our understanding of the structure of DNA.”
Forensic medicine has made many great strides through out the centuries. I am sure that there will be many more made with all of the new technology available today. “To work in forensic medicine there are a few traits that it is probably important to have. Suspicion is one, the second is a capacity to never be shocked, and the third is to have a strong stomach.”


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