The annual study visit for 2nd year undergraduate students in the School of Chemistry, University of Lincoln, forms part of the ‘overseas field course’ optional module of the School’s Forensic Science BSc (Hons).

Students have previously visited the east coast of North America (the only such activity for forensic science students in the UK) annually for over 12 years. The costs of accommodation and other fees are paid by the School of Chemistry. This overseas field course aims to give students the opportunity to experience first hand the work of the forensic specialist within an international context. The module is designed to introduce students to laboratory and field work within an international context and for students to gain a global perspective of forensic science. Students can also familiarise themselves with the professional skills required to carry out this type of work.

Previously, students have had the opportunity to undertake the following excursions as part of their studies:

  • Undertake an independent research project which aligns with the chosen theme of the visit and experience life in a major American city.  The planned programme in New York included trips to the The Memorial Museum at 911 site  – an outstanding record of all the events of 9/11 and extremely helpful with research data collection for student reflection and review.
  • A day visit to John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the most prestigious of all US colleges teaching forensic science, provided students with a chance to listen to talks by four experts on forensic analysis, tour the specialised laboratories and meet students from the US course.
  • A further day visit to the The Office of the Medical Examiner provides students with an opportunity to spend practical time in a training laboratory, visit a major forensic toxicology laboratory (run by an ex staff member from the University of Lincoln) and listen to eyewitness accounts of 9/11.  Students visit a forensic anthropology laboratory with a world-wide expert on the subject and view remains from real life unsolved cases and a lecture is given on how DNA has revealed the identity of some of the victims of 911 but the limitations encountered.
  • The behind-the-scenes tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art allowed students to focus on the fascinating use of modern analytical science to detect fraudulent artworks and documents.
  • Lastly, a visit to the Immigration Museum – Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was designed to establish the background and context for a terror attack on NYC and the ancestry of those that live there. Aimed at developing  confidence in the students, to raise awareness of forensic science importance internationally and to provide an opportunity to reflect as a learning group. Feedback from students was excellent, with many saying they appreciated the experience and also that the module had opened their eyes to new opportunities in life.

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These overseas field trips have helped the University of Lincoln build strong research links with the US forensic science community and the expertise to establish and teach on the international Erasmus Mundus Masters in forensic science funded by the EU, as well an ongoing Visiting Professorship from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Dr Ruth Croxton, School of Chemistry, University of Lincoln, has recently co-authored a book with Dr Marcel de Puit (Netherlands Forensic Institute / Delft University of Technology) and Dr Stephen Bleay (Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology).

The book, titled Fingerprint Development Techniques: Theory and Application, is a comprehensive review of the latest fingerprint development and imaging techniques – covering everything from what the fingerprints we leave behind are made of, how they behave on different surfaces in different environments through to a vast array of techniques we use to make fingerprints visible for identification including how and why they work.


Text from the blurb:

“…Comprehensive in scope, the text explores the history of each process, the theory behind the way fingerprints are either developed or imaged, and information about the role of each of the chemical constituents in recommended formulations.

The authors explain the methodology employed for carrying out comparisons of effectiveness of various development techniques that clearly demonstrate how to select the most effective approaches. The text also explores how techniques can be used in sequence and with techniques for recovering other forms of forensic evidence. In addition, the book offers a guide for the selection of fingerprint development techniques and includes information on the influence of surface contamination and exposure conditions.

This important resource:
* Provides clear methodologies for conducting comparisons of fingerprint development technique effectiveness
* Contains in-depth assessment of fingerprint constituents and how they are utilized by development and imaging processes
* Includes background information on fingerprint chemistry
* Offers a comprehensive history, the theory, and the applications for a broader range of processes, including the roles of each constituent in reagent formulations

Fingerprint Development Techniques offers a comprehensive guide to fingerprint development and imaging, building on much of the previously unpublished research of the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology.”

Find out more about Forensic Science at the University of Lincoln.

Our School’s Dr Stefan Wuttke has co-authored a paper, which is featured in Nature Communications – an open access journal that publishes high-quality research in biology, physics, chemistry, Earth sciences, and all related areas.

The paper, titled Chemical diversity in a metal–organic framework revealed by fluorescence lifetime imaging, was a collaboration between researchers from University of California-Berkeley and the University of Munich.

You can read the paper online.

Find out more about the School of Chemistry.