In this laboratory-based course students will investigate a modified crime/mystery based on an actual case that took place in Australia. In our Seattle event, the victim is a talented graduate student in Genome Sciences.  He is found dead one morning with a large gash on his head, lying in a puddle of vomit among a variety of items in disarray in a secluded area on the UW campus.  

By following clues left by the victim, interviewing UW research staff across campus, and chemically tracing the origins of materials at the scene of the crime, the investigators will discover the victim’s medical history, secret laboratories, and the past series of events that have led to the tragic event. Our team of forensic scientists will use a variety of trace evidence analyses (e.g., blood typing, gas chromatography, liquid chromatography, fingerprinting) to identify and track down individuals from a range of materials left at the scene of the crime.  These exercises will illustrate the power and pitfalls of chemical forensics and help students understand the statistical basis for deciding guilt or innocence.

Students considering careers in biology research, forensics, or the law, and students with a working knowledge of biology and chemistry.  We welcome enthusiastic non-STEM majors who gain a new interest in the STEM discipline by seeing applied uses of science in action.

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5 credits of Natural Science coursework towards the Areas of Inquiry requirement.