Alexandre Lacassange was a devoted and intelligent man when it came to forensic science – he studied it, taught it and most of all took it to a whole new level. He was born on August 17th, 1843 in Cahors, France and studied at the military school in Strasbourg, where he was recognised as a brilliant medical student after his exam. He was much respected and articulate; one of his cases was even recognised as the cause of the birth of forensic science. He worked in the military hospital, Vel- De-Grace in Paris and for many years as a professor in forensic medicine at the University of Lyons gaining many chairs.
When he was a professor he taught many well-known forensic scientists who were just learning the ropes then, including Edmond Lochard who was the founder of the first forensic science laboratory. At the same time he also participated in lots of forensic investigations and was a consultant plus expert in many criminal trials all over his country. Even though he had a professorship, being a member of Military Health Service he was sent to North Africa to improve his knowledge even further in clinical medicine.
Alexandre was a specialist in the field of toxicology and one of the first to develop a bloodstain pattern analysis, he was even the very first person to study bullet markings and any relations they had to any other weapons. He found out the relation where a bloodstain was found in a crime scene and what the crime might have been and the position of it. To find out the relations between bullets and there weapons, he examined the bullet, and counted and compared the number of lands and grooves.
Alexandre was also involved in founding his own criminology school; it was called Lacassange School of Criminology. Alexandre was influenced by his main rival, Lombroso’s Italian School and the Lacassange School was influent from 1885. It taught both areas of criminology that was current at the time, “bio psychological” that focused on the importance of individual traits and making a difference between honest citizens and criminals, while the other area focused on the social factors. Most schools only focused on one area, so the Lacassange School was much more complex and sophisticated.
Later on in his life, Lacassange became a teacher for forensic medicine in Lyon Faculty of Medicine. Around this time in 1899, he was called to help solve the strange “Affair Gouffé” case (a 19th century murder in France), this instantly made him famous globally mainly because of his modern forensic techniques that definitely shook the whole forensic world, and we still use them today. Soon after this case he wrote the book “Annales d’anthropologie criminelles” (In English this means “Annals of criminal anthropology”) which also was followed by other forensic science books.
Without Alexandre Lacassange’s work in Forensic Science we may still have trouble recognising important characteristics in blood stains, and how we can match a bullet marking to its weapon.
To listen to me read my speech click here: Alexandre Lacassange Speech Enjoy!
By Gracie 🙂