Art in Forensics

I was Googling “art in forensics” to get an image of x-rayed paintings, but a ton of other images came up that inspired me to take this forensics class in a new direction next year. I would love to do a day on Art in Forensics–often times, people only think of bodies when they think of forensics, but there are so many other disciplines that forensic science is used for as well.

Things I would include in this day:

  • How to draw a suspected person based on only the witnesses description (have students make sketched based on each others descriptions)

convict sketches.jpg

  • talk to a suspect sketcher (do these people work for the police or are they hired? hmmm….)
  • how to make a clay mold of a person’s face
    1. how to re-construct a model of a face that’s been badly misshapen


  • how artists age missing children (maybe read a case study of a missing child, and then look at all of the artists renditions of what they would look like at different ages as they grow up)

aged children.jpg

  • a field trip to an art museum to talk to a curator about how forensic science techniques are used to determine whether or not there are 2 paintings on a canvas, and to determine whether there are people in art, like those that were found in these Buddha statues:

forensic statue.jpg


The Saltiest Things in Life are the Unseen

We don’t just cry when we’re sad, but also when we’re happy, overwhelmed, stressed, even in the kitchen. Here’s the scientific proof that we have different tears for different cries: photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher collected her own tears and those of hundreds of other volunteers in various moods and ages over the course of a year and then photographed them under a light microscope. Here’s what she found our different tears look like:

tears in humans

Maybe it’s true what they say about crying… “The sweetest (or in this case, the saltiest) things in life are the unseen…”

Read more about her work and this study here.

Truth and Beauty in Cells

This is why we teach the cell–not because it’s a part of the curriculum or because it’s “essential to biology,” but because it’s an integral part of the truth and beauty that makes you…you.

truth and beauty in cells

“…Truth and beauty are things that are often opaque to people who are not in the sciences. They are things that describe beauty in a way that is often only accessible if you understand the language and the syntax of the person who studies the subject in which truth and beauty is expressed…I wanted to figure out a way to help people understand truth and beauty in the biological sciences by using animation, by using pictures, by telling stories so that the things that are not necessarily evident to people can be brought forth, and can be taught, and can be understood.”

-David Bolinsky in his TED Talk, Visualizing the Wonder of a Living Cell