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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>