History of Fingerprinting

28 07 2011
At ACM’s Get a Clue camp, campers sharpen their  logic and detective skills by investigating mysteries, solving riddles and cracking codes.  One of the favorite activities at camp is to take each other’s fingerprint.
Imprinting the friction ridges of a person’s fingertip onto a surface is an easy way to uniquely identify someone.  No two people have been found to have the same fingerprint and because of this, fingerprinting is used for many purposes, including crime solving.
The first modern, official use of fingerprinting as a way of identifying people was July 28, 1858 when a British magistrate, William James Herschel in India requested a local businessman put his hand print on the back of a contract.  Herschel developed to the system because he thought locals felt more bound to a contract through this personal contact than if it was just signed.  After 40 years of observing the fingerprints over time, Herschel also determined that fingerprints never change with age.
Although fingerprinting had been used as early as ancient Babylonia to seal clay tablets, this was the first time a government made fingerprinting a protocol to use to distinguish people.  Almost 40 years later a policeman in Argentina began to keep fingerprints on file of criminals for investigating crimes.  Now fingerprinting is a fundamental technology used in criminal investigations.
You can take your fingerprint at home.  All you need is some tape, a pencil, some white paper and a magnifying glass. Read the rest of this entry »

Girls Explore Science visit Pediatrics Offices

13 07 2011

Last week, the Museum hosted a summer camp specifically for girls interested in science.  Campers got to visit an architecture firm, a UT petroleum engineering lab and the UT mechanical engineering department.  Additionally, they were hosted by Dr. Danielle Sweeney at the Pediatric Urology of Central Texas office and the Pediatric Surgery Center.

Dr. Sweeney and campers.

Dr. Sweeney greets campers at her offices.

During their visit, campers learned about pediatric surgery and urology, which is a branch of medicine concerned with the kidney and urinary systems of children.   In the surgical wing, campers were outfitted with surgical gloves and masks and shown how doctors give medicine through IVs and remove items, like food, lodged in a patient’s throat.

IV lesson

Campers practice administering an IV with a dummy patient.

Special tools demonstration

A nurse shows campers special removal tools.

During their visit to the urology center, campers learned about the kidney system and urology.  Nurses showed the girls how they take patient vitals (take blood pressure and measure height, etc.).  At the end, Dr.  Sweeney spoke with students about her job and how she got to be a surgeon and urologist.

Urology poster

A poster explaining urology and the kidney system.

After their field trip, campers participated in a “Helping Hands” activity.  During the activity they worked together to engineer a homemade bionic hand that can be used as a tool to grab different objects.  A fun conclusion to a day packed with fun and learning!

Here are some more pictures of our day:

Girls Explore Science Camp Hospital Visit video on ACM’s Vimeo channel.