Cracking Forensics

Cracking Forensics

This is the first instalment of our series of exhibitions about forensics. We explore its history, key milestones and the role it has played in helping to solve crimes. Future exhibitions will tackle forensics and where it sits with key cases in Western Australia’s history.

What is Forensic Science?

Forensic science describes the science of associating people, places and things involved in criminal activities; these scientific disciplines assist in investigating and adjudicating criminal and civil cases. The discipline divides neatly into halves, like the words that describe it. ‘Science’ is the collection of systematic methodologies used to increasingly understand the physical world. The word ‘forensic’ is derived from the Latin forum for ‘public’. Learn more


For over 100 years, fingerprints have provided a reliable and efficient means of identification, proving its value in criminal investigations. The biological principles of permanence and uniqueness along with the capability to be classified have made fingerprints a fundamental tool in forensic science. Learn more

DNA and Blood Evidence

In 1901, the distinction could be made between animal and human blood, based on the discovery that the blood of different species had one or more characteristic proteins.

DNA was discovered by a Swiss medical student named Johann Friedrich Miescher in 1869. In 1984, forensic DNA analysis was developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys, who realised that variation in the genetic code could be used to identify individuals and to tell individuals apart from one another. This led to the development of DNA profiling and paved the way for its use in solving crimes. Learn more

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