Born in 1877, Edmond Locard was a French criminalist well known for being Frances Sherlock Holmes. While he was studying medicine he developed an interest the law and legal matters, He went on to publish over 40 pieces of work, the most famous being his seven-volume series Traite de criminastique.
For a while Edmond Locard worked as the assistant of Dr Alexandre Lacassagne and, a few years later, began pursuing his career in law. He passed the bar in 1907 and went on to study alongside anthropologist Alphonse Bertillon, famous for his anthropometric system of identifying criminals.
He worked during world war one attempting to make identifying criminal easier and attempting to find the cause of soldiers deaths he did this by examining the stains and damage of the body to both criminal and soldiers.
In 1910 the police department of Lyon offered Edmond locard the chance to build the first police laboratories using only a few small attic rooms, when evidence is collected from crime scenes the police would take the evidence to these laboratories were it could scientifically be examined. Unfortunately it was only till 2 years later that the in 1912 that police department officially recognised the laboratories.
Locard is also known for his contribution to the improvement of dactylography, an area of study which deals with fingerprints. After the laboratory in Lyon was established, he developed the science of poroscopy, the study of fingerprint pores and the impressions produced by these pores. He went on to write that if 12 specific points were identical between two fingerprints, it would be sufficient for positive identification. This work led to the use of fingerprints in identifying criminals being adopted over Bertillon’s earlier technique of anthropometry. In 1929, Locard and numerous other criminalists founded the International Academy of Criminalistics in Switzerland. However this building did not survive the Second World War.
However Edmond Locard is perhaps most well-known for his formulation of Locard’s Exchange Principle, a theory relating to the transfer of trace evidence between objects, stating that “every contact leaves a trace” one of his quotes. The theory dictates that when two objects come into contact with one another, each will take something from the other object or leave something behind.
Edmond Locard died in 1966 at just 90 years old, however his exchange principle has become a great influential piece of work in forensic science, and is frequently quoted to this day.
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