Students go CSI-style at Flinders Chemical Murder Mystery

Victoria Curtin and Callum Grigg from Reynella East High School taking part in the Chemical Murder Mystery event.
Flinders student Ruby Sims, with Victoria Curtin and Callum Grigg from Reynella East High School.

More than 300 Year 10 students have helped to solve Flinders University’s twelfth “Chemical Murder Mystery” at the University’s Bedford Park campus.

The three-day event, which is organised by Flinders University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering in partnership with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), saw students become “forensic experts” to help solve the annual mystery.

Under the guidance of Associate Professor Stewart Walker, they collected and examined evidence through DNA analysis and toxicology and microspectrophotometry tests.

Associate Professor Walker, who is one of South Australia’s leading forensic experts, was assisted by volunteers from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), and Flinders Honours and PhD students who specialise in the field.

Many past attendees have gone on to become Flinders University graduates specialising in a range of scientific fields, including forensic science.

Associate Professor Walker said he often runs into students at Flinders who told him they had attended past events and been inspired into careers in science.

“The event has run for over 12 years, so we now have students who attended the Chemical Murder Mystery when they were in year 10 and have gone on to study science,” he said. “Others have become science teachers bringing their own year 10 students to the event.

“I often get approached by my first year forensic and analytical science students at Flinders, who tell me that they attended the Chemical Murder Mystery in year 10 and loved it so much that they decided to further pursue science.”

Vanya Bosiocic, Event Coordinator and Science Communication Officer, said the event gave students a taste of real life “CSI” and was a big hit with the students, Flinders staff and volunteers.

“The students have the opportunity to experience various forensic techniques used by professional scientists and get a taste for what real CSI looks like,” Ms Bosiocic said. “It’s a wonderful event which the university looks forward to each year.”

“The best part of the day is watching the students’ excitement and engagement build up as they learn that they will be the ones solving the crime.”


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