Whorl goes there?

Today in CHEM 424 we focused on fingerprint identification and had some fun while learning about the ridge patterns and minutiae that forensic investigators use to identify suspects based on their fingerprints!

Fingerprints are useful in forensic investigations because each one is unique, they never change throughout your lifetime, and they have common patterns that can be used to classify them.

The three major classes are loops, whorls, and arches. Today the students took their own fingerprints and identified what class each belongs to.


Katy’s got arches!


Jenna, Katy, Liz, and Claire show off their prints


Cara looks like a (really excited) criminal!

After they took all of their own prints, they picked on print to put on a balloon before blowing it up and handing it off to a partner. Using the ridge patterns and minutiae we discussed in class, the partner tried to guess which finger the print came from. These guys are fingerprint experts – they all deduced the correct answer before having more fun with the balloons.

Adrienne inking up (check out that ring!)

Adrienne inking up (check out that ring!)


Printing the balloon


Carrie identified minutiae like ridge endings and bifurcations that makes her print unique from everyone else’s.


Cara is asserting her Fifth Amendment right!


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