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IMDEA-CSI: Crime scene investigation at The European Researchers' Night in Madrid 2017

IMDEA-CSI: Crime scene investigation at The European Researchers' Night in Madrid 2017

The mystery was solved. Thanks to the work of the forensic police and the researchers of the IMDEA Institutes, we could discover the person guilty of the robbery that ended with a victim in the morgue.

According to the police, they had it much easier than normal, because in addition to the superb analysis of the tests carried out by researchers from IMDEA, the culprit confessed! They didn’t even need to handcuff him.

This year was the eighth edition of The European Researchers’ Night in Madrid attended by the researchers of the IMDEA Institutes. And for the third consecutive year, the chosen stage was the Residencia de Estudiantes of Madrid. The European Researchers’ Night in Madrid is a European project for the dissemination of science, which, in our community, is coordinated by the Fundación para el Conocimiento madrimasd.

Juan Pedro Fernández and Daniel del Pozo (IMDEA Materials) used techniques to simulate resistance of materials in order to discover, without "destroying" the evidence, that the culprit used a thermal lance to open the safe the content of which had been stolen.


Álvaro Somoza (IMDEA Nanoscience) and Isabel López (IMDEA Water) analysed the DNA from samples of blood and hair thanks to what we knew that there was blood from two individuals at the scene of the crime, one of them the victim and the other the possible killer; and that the latter was taking drugs to lower his cholesterol.


Susana Molina and Isabel Espinosa (IMDEA Food) confirmed the first impressions of their colleagues: after analysing the DNA of the samples that did not correspond to the victim (blood and skin under the fingernails), they proved his genetic tendency to have high cholesterol and his lactose intolerance.

And the grip was tightening on the culprit. Patricia Horcajada (IMDEA Energy) thoroughly analysed the scissors found at the crime scene and a piece of material embedded in the wound of the victim and gave scientifically irrefutable arguments that the piece of material from the wound matched with the piece missing from the weapon of the crime.

Narseo Vallina (IMDEA Networks) and Juan Caballero (IMDEA Software) with their analysis of the mobile phone of the victim, recovering deleted photos and chats, reconstructing the places they had visited in the final days,... left the guilty party without any possible way out.

The culprit, seeing that he had no way out, had to confess. All the evidence pointed to him, and he collapsed on stage. The murderer had been one of the researchers from IMDEA! Juan Pedro Fernández confessed it all. For some time, he had been developing along with the victim a new material much better than graphene. Juan Pedro wanted to give their discovery to humanity altruistically, while the victim wanted to become rich by selling the patent. In a desperate attempt to avoid it, Juan Pedro went at night to the victim’s house to steal the lab notebooks that the victim kept in his safe, in which he knew part of their work was located. While he was opening the safe with a thermal lance without worrying much about the noise, because he thought that the victim was not home, he was surprised by him. Then, a heated argument began during which the victim came upon him trying to hit him; Juan Pedro defended himself and without even thinking he took a pair of scissors which more on the victim´s desk and stabbed him.

The forensic police inspector José Antonio Rodríguez and his two companions, the deputy inspector Fernando Álvarez and officer Julián Blanco, who had been collecting the evidence at the scene of the crime and explaining how to work with them, took little time to "arrest" Juan Pedro, who willingly agreed to do no more.

Half jokingly and half seriously, with undoubted police and scientific rigor, IMDEA researchers and members of the forensic police of IMDEA-CSI showed that the research done in laboratories extends "out on the street" on many occasions, including at the scene of a crime to assist in police work.


Este proyecto de La Noche Europea de los Investigadores de Madrid está financiado por el Programa Marco de Investigación e Innovación Horizonte 2020 bajo las Acciones Marie Sklodowska-Curie de la Comisión Europea. DG-EAC. Comisión Europea, bajo el Acuerdo de subvención número 721631