In my PhD I work with police officers on the fingerprints they find at crime-scenes. But trust me, neither my work nor theirs is anything like CSI Miami. But occasionally exciting things do happen.
Last month I went to Queensland Police Headquarters and learnt to lift and photograph fingerprints. The officer teaching us probably thought it was mundane but Morgan and I were stoked. We used magnetic powder to dust Coke bottles, CDs and weapons. It was amazing seeing my own own fingerprints appear from nothing right in front of my eyes. It's not too difficult but will take lots of practice to get right.
Like most PhD students I spend hours sitting in front of a computer reading basic psychology research and designing experiments. This makes it easy to lose site of the big picture. But times like the above give me some much needed motivation from the realisation that we researchers are working to solve problems that will affect people's lives, hopefully for the better ; )
Matthew B. Thompson
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