Friday, June 3, 2016

Women who Investigate Crime Scenes

Angie Malone is the winner of a copy of Bubonic Panic - the giveaway winner was determined by drawing names from a hat (since rafflecopter refuses to load properly!) Now, back to Fun with Forensics...

Forensics: Cool Women who Investigate
by Anita Yasuda; illus. by Allison Bruce
112 pages; ages 9-12
Nomad Press, 2016

After an introductory chapter, the book introduces three women who work in forensics. Each has a chapter dedicated to her story of how she grew up, what kinds of things she was interested in as a kid, and the sort of forensic work they do now. ChristineGabig-Prebyl is a forensic scientist for a sheriff's office. When she was a kid, she collected owl pellets and was interested in life sciences.

What Christine likes best about her job is that it brings new problems to solve each day. She may use gas chromatography or analyze substances in a mass spectrometer. She might examine hair, fibers, paint using a microscope. In one case, she had to deal with more than 450 items of evidence.

Some forensic scientists are anthropologists who study bones, or entomologists who study insects. Throughout the book are many sidebars that focus on different jobs in forensic sciences, and the education that you'd need for that job. There are also short profiles of other women in the field. This is the perfect book for a young woman headed to college with an interest in sciences, but not quite sure what she wants to do.

Try It: Chromatography

 The ink in your pen might look black, but most ink is a mix of several pigments. A forensic scientist can determine what ink is used by separating the pigments into a banded pattern. The process of separating pigments is called chromatography, and you can do it on your kitchen counter.

You need: different kinds of water-based black markers; coffee filters cut into half-inch strips; bamboo skewers or pencils; tape; and some jars or glasses.

Draw a pencil line about 1/2 inch from one end of a filter paper strip. Make a dot of dark ink from one of the markers on that line. Pour a little water into the jar and hang your filter paper so it is just touching the water and the ink spot is above the water line. Tape it to a pencil so it can hang for a few minutes while the pigments separate. As water is drawn up the filter paper, it will carry the ink's pigments with it. Heavier pigments will be left behind first, and light ones later - so you may see some pinks and blues along the strip. Try it with different markers - you might find they have different pigments.

What about inks that aren't water-soluble? If you can smear it with a drop of alcohol, you might be able to separate the pigments using alcohol instead of water in the jar.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

No comments:

Post a Comment