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Published by: Charles Heiskell Kope on Apr 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Trajectory 1RUNNING HEAD: TrajectoryApplications of Trajectory in ForensicsCharles Heiskell KopeSanta Ana CollegeCriminal Justice 108 – Crime Scene Investigation MW
Trajectory 2AbstractTrajectory simply refers to the flight path of a projectile. With this simple terminology, comes acrucial part of forensic science that may make or break a case. Because of the exactness of thescience of trajectory, the path a projectile takes can be mapped out with mathematical precision.This exactness is crucial in determining guilt in a legal case, and may even be the determiningevidence in a case determining the life or death of a defendant. Forensic science is interested inthe origin of a projectile, most commonly bullets, and their flight path. Methods of determiningthe trajectory of a projectile include tools such as trajectory lasers, photographic fog, andtrajectory rods.
Trajectory 3Applications of Trajectory in ForensicsAccording to
 Fundamentals of Physics
, trajectory is simply the path of a projectile(Walker, 2008). In spite of this simple terminology, trajectory plays a significant role in forensicscience as well as everyday applications. Through physical knowledge and understanding of trajectory and projectile motion, one can calculate the path of a falling object or a projectile withmathematical precision. This exactness is crucial in determining guilt in a legal case, and mayeven be the determining evidence in a case determining the life or death of a defendant. Manycases have employed the knowledge of trajectory in order to determine guilt in crimes such asofficer involved shootings, and have been key evidence in sentencing a defendant to death.Modern knowledge of trajectory may even aid in solving old cases. For example, modernapplications show that a case from the 1900’s in Victorian England was not a suicide, but may infact be a homicide (Bailey & Mitchell, 2006). Cases such as this provide excellent examples indisplaying the mathematical precision of calculating a trajectory, and how it can be used todetermine whether or not it is statistically possible for the case to be accidental, suicide, or evenhomicide. Today, forensic scientists have many tools to aid in the trajectory analysis of crimescenes, such as trajectory lasers and photographic fog, trajectory rods, or string.Applications
According to
 Fundamentals of Physics
, projectile motion is the motion of an object if said object is projected, or launched (Walker, 2008). When looking at motion, the direction of travel can be classified in two directions; horizontal and vertical motion. Both horizontal andvertical motion are independent of each other, meaning that neither motion effects the other. Inhorizontal motion, the object does not accelerate when in ideal circumstances. However, in the

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