Edmond Locard

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Edmond Locard
Born (1877-12-13)13 December 1877
Saint-Chamond, France
Died 4 May 1966(1966-05-04) (aged 88)
Residence Lyon, France
Citizenship French
Nationality French
Fields Forensic science, Public health
Known for First police laboratory, Locard's exchange principle, Sherlock Holmes of France
Influences Alexandre Lacassagne
Influenced Georges Simenon

Dr. Edmond Locard (13 December 1877 – 4 April 1966) was a 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 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.

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 laboratory. [1]

He produced a monumental, seven-volume work, Traité de Criminalistique. He continued with his research until his death in 1966.

In November 2012, he is nominated to the French Forensic Science Hall of Fame of the Association Québécoise de Criminalistique [2]


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


Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool marks he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value

— Paul L. Kirk, from his book: Crime Investigation: Physical Evidence and the Police Laboratory (Published in 1953)


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ "Liste des intronises au Pantheon francophone de la criminalistique". Association Québécoise de Criminalistique. 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.