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Physicists in Forensics

March 4, 2009

Forensics is not just for biochemists.

I just read an interesting article from this March issue of Physics Today, which

Physicists in Forensis (free for access)

From faulty products to murder, physicists help figure out what really happened.

A young woman (Carolyb Byrne) was found at the bottom of a cliff in Sydney, Australia, in June 1995. The site was a popular suicide spot, and the police assumed she had killed herself. But last November the woman’s boyfriend was convicted of murder. “It took 10 years to figure out that the woman was thrown off the cliff; she did not jump,” says Rod Cross, a physicist at the University of Sydney who served as a consultant for the case. It took that long, he adds, “mainly because the police did not understand that physics could help solve the problem.”

(The cliff  at The Gap in Sydney)

To prove that, it’s not just based on the theory. It requires to carefully conduct a series of experiments (ya, even human experiments).


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