Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Can maths catch criminals and bring them to justice?

23.03.2006


Mathematics is playing such an increasingly important role in crime scene investigations, helping forensic scientists work out a range of problems including the trajectories of bullets, fingerprint recognition and the speed of moving vehicles, that an understanding of the subject could be key for the next great detective.

Professor Christopher Budd from the University of Bath will explore this further when he delivers a lecture entitled Can maths catch criminals and bring them to justice? at Gresham College on Wednesday 29 March at 6.30pm.

Describing the mathematical techniques used in investigating everything from tracing the culprit in water pollution to what or who killed Tutankhamen, Professor Budd will suggest that mathematics has a key role to play in modern-day crime detection.



“Mathematics is important and highly relevant to crime fighting in particular, and to many other real life problems in general,” said Professor Budd.

“It won’t solve every problem, but mathematics is a particularly useful tool in the set of techniques used in the forensic service.”

In an attempt to resolve an ancient murder mystery, X-ray analyses of Tutankhamen’s mummified body in the 1960s had proved inconclusive. It was only through a recent investigation using CAT scanning technology that scientists could work out that the Egyptian king probably died of an infection following a broken leg.

CAT scans allow scientists to build a 3D image from x-rays using a mathematical formula discovered by Johann Radon in 1917. Without mathematics the CAT scanner would not work, nor would any other method of medical imaging. However, whilst the engineers who built the first CAT scan machine in 1972 received a Nobel Prize, Radon got nothing.

Mathematicians are now using the same approach, only in reverse, to work out the position of landmines from a photograph of an area of land. By looking for clues hidden in the photograph, the formula can help pin point the likely location of land mines and trip wires.

“People often ask the question, ‘what is the use of maths?’ The answer is that it plays such an important role in almost every aspect of our lives, we just don’t often notice it’s there,” said Professor Budd who is also President of the Mathematics Section at the British Association and Chair of Mathematics at the Royal Institution.

“Many of the mathematical techniques used by forensic scientists are similar to those used in medical imaging for brain tumours, oil prospecting and remote sensing by satellites.

“It is remarkable how often ideas which might be thought of as pure mathematics often find very real and important applications.”

Helene Murphy | alfa
Further information:
http://www.gresham.ac.uk

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht Young people discover the "Learning Center"
20.09.2016 | Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>