Fingerprinting owes its prominence to certain icons whose research and discipline greatly advanced the field. These researchers took great time to study, take personal notes, and ultimately invent this new field but were never rewarded by seeing their work benefit anyone. Each one nonetheless contributed to advance the field.
Johannes Evangelista Purkinje, also known as, Jan or John Purkinje, is one of these scientists who advanced the field of fingerprinting. He was born in 1787 in what was Czechoslovakia. Although Purkinje's background was in physiology, he contributed to the field of criminology.
Purkinje was a professor at the University of Breslau in Germany from 1823 to 1850. While there he was a pioneer in establishing laboratory training in many German universities. In 1823 Purkinje named nine standard types of fingerprint patterns and outlined a broad method of classification. As Purkinje put it, "After innumerable observations, I have found nine important varieties of patterns of rugae and sulci, though the lines of demarcation between the types are often obscure." Rugae refer to ridges and sulci to furrows (the area between the ridges). He delineated the following patterns: transverse curve, central longitudinal stria, oblique stripe, oblique loop, almond whorl, spiral whorl, ellipse, circle, and double whorl. Although his system of classification is not used today, Purkinje was the first to recognize these patterns and classify them into a system.
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