Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments

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If forensic science has ever interested you, then I have just the book for you...Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments (O'Reilly Media, Inc, 2012) by scientists and owners of The Home Scientist, LLC, Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson.  This book is a step by step guide to have some forensic science fun of your own.  This "All Lab, No Lecture" science book walks you through how to set up your own home forensic lab and learn through hands-on experimentation to investigate things such as finding/processing trace evidence, fingerprinting, blood detection, impression analysis, toxicology and forensic biology.
Here is the synopsis of Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments from the back cover of the book:

Have you ever wondered whether the forensic science you've seen on TV is anything like the real thing? There's no better way to find out than to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. This full-color book offers advice for setting up an inexpensive home lab, and includes more than 50 hands-on lab sessions that deal with forensic science experiments in biology, chemistry, and physics.  You'll learn the practical skills and fundamental knowledge needed to pursue forensics as a lifelong hobby--or even a career.  

The forensic science procedures in this book are not merely educational, they're the real deal: procedures that real forensic analysts use every day.  Each chapter includes one or more lab sessions devoted to a particular topic. You'll find a complete list of equipment and chemicals you need for each session. 

Learn how to:*Analyze soil, hair, and fibers
*Match glass and plastic specimens*Development latent fingerprints and reveal blood traces*Conduct drug and toxicology tests*Analyze gunshot and explosive residues*Detect forgeries and fakes
*Analyze toolmark impressions and camera images*Match pollen and diatom samples*Extract, isolate, and visualize DNA samples

After reviewing Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments, I think it would be a great book for budding (teenage or older) scientist or detective! I bet science teachers would have great participation--with minimal whining--by implementing some of these science labs into their curriculum--in the school system or for home schooling. Each lab gives you a list of equipment and materials you need to complete the lab and while you can definitely get the items individually, the authors have put together a custom Forensic Science kit, which can be found at The Home Scientist, LLC which contains the specialized equipment and supplies (minus the microscope and some common household items) you need to complete the experiments in the book. I have a feeling that when my son is a bit older, this book will be right up his alley--both my husband and I have a forensic science curiosity so it will be fun to work through some of these experiments as a family!

 Thank you to O'Reilly for my sample used in this review, opinions are honest.  Review by Michelle.

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