3C 2 H 5 OH(g) + 2K 2 Cr 2 O 7 (aq) + 8H 2 SO 4 (aq)--->
The reduction product, Cr 2 (SO 4 ) 3 , is a green solid. The Breathalyzer scale provides a percent blood-alcohol concentration. A value of 0.10% is the minimum amount for being legally intoxicated and subject to a DWI conviction (see Demonstration 1 in Chemistry in Medicine module).
Ian Rae [Dustcoats in dust jackets. (1983). Chemistry in Britain, 19, 565.] discusses other authors who use chemistry in their novels, including Austin Freeman whose Famous Cases of Dr. Thorndyke (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1929; reprinted 1965) contains much chemistry. In this book, Freeman describes the Marsh test for arsenic, including its distinction from antimony (using hypo-chlorite), and a description of an attempted poisoning by atropine that relied on secretion of this substance in eggs of pigeons that had been fed belladonna.
Dorothy Sayers apparently had learned some chemistry and used it in several of her novels. Strong Poison (Gollancz Publisher, London, 1930) deals with the ability of a practiced arsenic eater to withstand a dose that kills his victim. There is also an account of the Marsh test for arsenic. In The Documents in the Case, Sayers and Robert Eustace base the apprehension of a murderer on the stereoisomers in poisonous mushrooms. The poisoning occurred with the racemic mixture, indicating the death was not accidental.
Forensic chemistry is mentioned in other poisoning whodunits. Thallium poisoning was discussed in Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse (Fontana, London, 1972; first published 1961). Ngaio Marsh's Final Curtain (Middlesex Penguin, 1961; first published 1947) gives a sketchy description of the chemistry of embalming and the flame test for thallium.
Many of J. J. Connington's stories involve forensic chemistry. Connington was the pen name of A. W. Stewart, a professor of chemistry at Queen's University (Belfast, 1919-1944). The Counsellor (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1939) discusses mescaline trances and Jack in the Box (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1944) contains a poisoning with nickel tetracarbonyl.
>Forensic science techniques have been used in several recent fictional and nonfictional books. The following is a brief listing:
Ted Bundy: The Killer Next Door by Steven Winn
The Man Who Killed Boys by Clifford Linedecker
The French Connection by Robin Moore
Coma by Robin Cook
Fatal Vision by Joe McGinnis
The Third Deadly Sin by Lawrence Saunders
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keyes
The Boston Strangler by Gerald Frank
The Wood-Chipper Murder by Arthur Herzog
a. Guest speaker from a local police department crime laboratory, the state crime laboratory, or the local medical examiner's office.
b. Field trip to the local police department or crime laboratory.
c. Guest speaker on uses of forensic chemistry in archaeology.
d. Invite a race track tester or large-animal veterinarian for a classroom discussion on testing for drugs in horses.
e. A museum curator is generally a good person to discuss art frauds.
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