Press release

Can you help solve a Christmas crime?

Published on 22 December 2022

Someone has been sneaking into Santa’s office and forensic scientists from the University of Dundee need the help of children near and far to look at the clues left behind and catch the culprit

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Santa’s nice list has been stolen and replaced with a fake one, but luckily the culprit has left behind some traces. Christmas can be saved by completing some simple scientific tests that point to who committed the crime.

The Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science (LRCFS) and the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID), in collaboration with the Dundee Science Centre and the Royal Institution, have created a fun investigation that children can do at home over the winter break.

The activities accompany the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal Institution, where Professor Dame Sue Black will reveal the secrets of forensic science. The first lecture will be broadcast at 8pm on BBC Four and iPlayer on 26 December, with the second and third Lectures following on 27 and 28 December.

In the activities, which can be downloaded from the University’s website, children are tasked with looking at traces left behind by the culprit, including fingerprints, footwear marks, and hair and fibres from clothing, following similar steps that real forensic scientists use. The experiments and investigation can all be carried out using objects that can be found at home.

Professor Niamh Nic Daeid, Director of LRCFS at Dundee, said “We are absolutely delighted to have worked with the Dundee Science Centre to be able to support the CHRISTMAS LECTURES from the Royal this year.

“Having a focus on Forensic Science for the CHRISTMAS LECTURES allows us to show young people how science can be made useful in the service of justice and inspire the next generation of forensic scientists.”

Ahead of the activities being made available to the wider public, staff from LRCFS and CAHID worked with Dundee Science Centre to incorporate the activities into festive forensic science kits that were distributed to families through foodbanks and community referrals in Dundee.

Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution

Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878