Jun 16, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

CHEM 120 - CSI Macalester

From the Sherlock Holmes stories before radio to the serial broadcasts of mysteries and whodunits during the mid-twentieth century to the current popularity of television’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation , society has demonstrated an abiding interest - regardless of the technological mode of delivery - in the entertainment value associated with the application of systematic, scientific, analytical thinking in the course of criminal investigation. May high-profile cases from real life have captured public attention as newspaper columnists and radio and television pundits report and pontificate on such cases, especially the physical evidence. The Lindberg kidnapping and the O.J. Simpson trial created stunning examples of public theatre driven by a widespread desire in people to know the facts and try the case in their own minds. Whether in an entertaining work of fiction or through an untidy twist of everyday life, forensic science serves as the fulcrum upon which collection and analysis of physical evidence lead ultimately to testimony in a courtroom. Of course, in contemporary terms the word physical is essentially a euphemism for chemical or molecular . Paradoxically, the public fascination with forensic science stands largely in opposition to the public distrust and fear of all things chemical. In this course we will work towards developing thorough, molecular level understanding of the foundations of modern forensic science. In appropriate measure and as a function of scheduling, readings, problem sets, case studies, hands-on analytical analyses, guest lecture visits, and field trips may be used to guide our study of modern forensic science. Fall semesters as a First Year Course. (4 Credits)