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Edmond Locard

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Edmond Locard
Born(1877-12-13)13 December 1877
Died4 May 1966(1966-05-04) (aged 88)
Known forFirst police laboratory, Locard's exchange principle, Sherlock Holmes of France
ChildrenDenise Stagnara
Scientific career
FieldsForensic science, Public health

Dr. Edmond Locard (13 December 1877 – 4 May 1966)[1] was a French criminologist, the pioneer in forensic science who became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of France". He formulated the basic principle of forensic science: "Every contact leaves a trace". This became known as Locard's exchange principle.


Locard was born in Saint-Chamond, France on December 13, 1877, although some records claim he was born in 1872.[2][3] He studied medicine and law at Lyon, France, eventually becoming the assistant of Alexandre Lacassagne, a criminologist and professor. He held this post until 1910, when he began the foundation of his criminal laboratory.[4][5] His lab, located in Lyon, was the first forensic lab in Europe.[6][7]

In 1910, Locard succeeded in persuading the Police Department of Lyon to give him two attic rooms and two assistants, to start what became the first police forensic laboratory.[5][8][9][10]

Locard's daughter Denise would be born on November 18, 1917, in Paris.[11]

Locard produced a monumental, seven-volume work, Traité de Criminalistique. He also was first to codify Galton points, fingerprint characteristics meant for identification.[2][4][10]

Locard continued his research in Lyon until his death in 1966.[2][4][12]


The young Georges Simenon, later to become a well-known detective writer, is known to have attended some Locard lectures in 1919 or 1920.[citation needed]

Locard is considered to be the father of modern forensic science. His Exchange Principle is the basis of all forensic work; the principle stipulates that when any two objects come into contact, there is always a transference of material between each object.[4][13]

In November 2012, he was nominated to the French Forensic Science Hall of Fame of the Association Québécoise de Criminalistique.[14]


  1. ^ "Page of Alexandre Arnould Edmond LOCARD". Geneanet.
  2. ^ a b c Tilstone, William J.; Savage, Kathleen A.; Clark, Leigh A. (2006). Forensic Science: An Encyclopedia of History, Methods, and Techniques. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-194-6.
  3. ^ Chisum, W. Jerry; Turvey, Brent E. (2011-08-09). Crime Reconstruction. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-386461-1.
  4. ^ a b c d Coppock, Craig A. (2007). Contrast: An Investigator's Basic Reference Guide to Fingerprint Identification Concepts. Charles C Thomas Publisher. ISBN 978-0-398-08514-8.
  5. ^ a b Yount, Lisa (2007). Forensic Science: From Fibers to Fingerprints. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-1-60413-061-4.
  6. ^ "Review of THE Art of Cross-Examination, 3rd Edition; On the Witness Stand". American Bar Association Journal. 10 (4): 249. 1924. ISSN 0002-7596. JSTOR 25711556.
  7. ^ Rawtani, Deepak; Hussain, Chaudhery Mustansar (2020-08-19). Technology in Forensic Science: Sampling, Analysis, Data and Regulations. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-3-527-82767-1.
  8. ^ O'Connor, Tom. "An introduction to criminal justice". Megalinks in criminal justice. Austin Peay State University. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  9. ^ Hufnagel, Saskia; Chappell, Duncan (2019-06-27). The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime. Springer. ISBN 978-1-137-54405-6.
  10. ^ a b Miller, Wilbur R. (2012-07-20). The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4833-0593-6.
  11. ^ "Odenas - nécrologie. Denise Stagnara, fille d'Edmond Locard, s'est éteinte". www.leprogres.fr (in French). Retrieved 2021-11-19.
  12. ^ Houck, Max M. (2001). Mute Witnesses: Trace Evidence Analysis. Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-356760-4.
  13. ^ Fletcher, Connie (2006-07-25). Every Contact Leaves a Trace: Crime Scene Experts Talk About Their Work from Discovery Through Verdict. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-34037-7.
  14. ^ "Liste des intronises au Pantheon francophone de la criminalistique". Association Québécoise de Criminalistique. Archived from the original on 2018-03-06. Retrieved 2015-06-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • Erzinclioglu, Zakariah (2004). Illustrated Guide+ to Forensics: True Crime Scene Investigations. Carlton. ISBN 978-1422354544.
  • Kirk, Paul Leland (2008). Crime investigation: physical evidence and the police laboratory. Interscience.