Authors: Robert Bruce Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson

Publisher: O’Reilly Media Inc

ISBN: 978-1-449-33451-2

Are you the type of person that loves television shows on forensic experiments and always wanted to know how to do them yourself, in your own home, sometimes using simple household products? Here is your chance to learn and do your own experiments with detailed instructions in Robert B. Thompson and Barbara Fritchman Thompson’s Illustrated Guide to Home Forensic Science Experiments.

This four hundred and twenty five page over-sized paperback in textbook format is ideal for the home school parent or public school teacher to be used as the basis of an academic, lab-based course on forensic science. With its all-lab, no-lecture structure, the book is broken down into eleven laboratory divisions that include list of materials, steps to do and review questions that involve over fifty scientific experiments. Besides bold red warning sections regarding safety issues performing the projects throughout each chapter, the end of the book has almost twenty pages of index. Included is an online reference website for further questions, purchasing kits and other chemicals and necessary products along with listings where items can be found commercially and locally.

The beginning of the book states that most current forensic work today is still done with the same procedures scientists used one hundred years ago so forensic tasks can be easily adapted by the do-it-yourself responsible teenager or adult hobbyist or enthusiast at home. Thus each descriptive venture can easily be understood and followed, producing results one can learn and record.

Husband and wife co-authors combine projects from soil samples and hair / fiber / fabric specimens to fingerprints and blood along with drugs, gunshot residue, inks and DNA analysis to name a few. After a couple of chapters on safety, materials and instruments, there are a myriad of themes of scientific experiments that include charts, color photographs and tips or advanced suggestions in many ranges of simple to complex projects. Using common household products like nail polish, an iron, tape, alcohol, 9 volt batteries or aspirin, assignments are explained step by step and theorized. One can learn how to take fingerprints off glass, find out if a paper is forged or test money to see if it has cocaine residue on it – all scientifically.

With proper supervision, this is an ideal book for middle-school and above students who are interested in the “whys” behind forensic science and those who want to challenge themselves in learning about chemical and physical reactions used in our everyday lives.

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