Use Science to Solve Crimes
Are you ready to try your hand at forensic analysis with CSI-like lab challenges? Do you have a mind for puzzles and a desire to shape the world of justice? Keuka College’s forensic chemistry minor offers an ideal opportunity if you’re interested in criminal investigation and the use of science to solve crimes.
This minor goes well with the criminology and criminal justice program, as well as other science majors, including biology. Specifically, you’ll have the opportunity to study general, organic, and analytical chemistry, in addition to criminal justice and criminal investigation.
Add in criminal justice classes to round out the minor, and soon you’ll be set to document and analyze everything at a crime scene from gun powder residue to hair follicles.
Learn More About Forensic Chemistry
As an undergraduate student, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to conduct hands-on research. You’ll also have direct access to equipment that’s usually only available to graduate students at large research universities.
Students have conducted research projects in Kenya, studied in cancer labs, and much more. Our natural science students often present their work at regional and national scientific meetings, and some have even partnered with faculty to publish scientific papers.
The Jephson Science Center is one of the College’s most recently-renovated buildings. A highlight of the center is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed by architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them. That means the labs you’ll use at Keuka College mimic real-world laboratories, and include much of the same equipment.
Research in chemistry often involves determining the chemical components of a solution and finding how much is there, especially when analyzing a crime scene for evidence. The equipment in our laboratory includes four different Perkin-Elmer machines typically found at large research universities, including:
High-Pressure Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC)
The HPLC is used to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture. It carries liquids from glass bottles through thin plastic tubes, passing through several compartments containing an oven, vacuum pump, solution tray, and detectors for analysis.
Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS)
The GC/MS separates mixtures into individual components and identifies separate fragments so you can determine what the molecules are. The GC/MS features a rotating unit that can extract samples from a tray of up to 108 small vials at one time, conducting analysis as programmed by a small touch screen at the side.
Connected to the CG/MS is a computer running high-performance software that converts the data readings of molecular ions into a bevy of colorful charts and graphs. Based on the peaks and plunges of a fragment’s chart, the computer searches a large digital library to find the closest match–all in a matter of seconds.
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR)
The FTIR contains an oval plate with a small diamond reflective element through which infrared light can pass. Connected to another computer running high-speed software, the FTIR is able to provide information about the identity of liquid or solid compounds.
Lamnda-35 Ultraviolet Spectrometer
The UV spectrometer uses visible and ultraviolet light to determine the absorption spectrum of a solution, which will show how much light it absorbs across a range of wavelengths. This information is then used to determine the concentration of particular chemical components.
At Keuka College, you’re able to work with published, world-class scientists every day. Here, your professors are eager to teach, work on research projects with you, and share their knowledge. All of Keuka College’s natural science professors hold doctoral degrees from top-tier institutions, including Yale and MIT.
Your criminology and criminal justice professors include those who have been published in the Wiley Handbook of Law and Society, The Journal of Law, Politics, and Society, and Law and Order. While at Keuka College, you will learn the inside secrets of forensic investigation from former police officers, crime scene technicians, and undercover narcotics officers.