T H E   N I H    C A T A L Y S T     N O V E M B E R  –D E C E M B E R   2003


If you have a photo or other

graphic that reflects an aspect of life

(including laboratory life) or a

quotation that scientists might

appreciate that would be fit to print

in the space to the right, why not

send it to us via e-mail:

<catalyst@nih.gov>; fax: 402-4303; or mail: Building 2, Room 2W23.

Also, we welcome "letters to the editor" for publication and your reactions to anything on the Catalyst pages.


In Future Issues...

Leto's Plowshares

To the Beat of the Tabors

What's New at NBIB?

Left four fingerprints of an anonymous NIHer


Kids' Catalyst


FWe’re all born with them, we know they’re used to catch criminals, but how much do we really know about fingerprints? With this experiment, you will learn more about fingerprints, including their differences and frequency, and amaze your classmates, all while doing a science project!

Fingerprinting your entire class isn’t time-consuming or messy at all.

All that you need are:

A roll of large, clear packing tape

Baby powder

Dark construction paper, cut into 3 x 5 sections, enough for two cards per person

Ask your classmates to rub their hands in a little bit of baby powder. (Your teacher will thank you—the science room will smell great!) Then carefully remove a 6" section of the clear tape from the roll, making sure not to put any smudges anywhere. Put the tape sticky-side up on a flat surface, and have your classmates roll each powdered finger on the tape. You will see beautiful fingerprints!

Then put the fingerprinted tape on the dark card. The fingerprints show up even better! Have your classmates repeat the process with the other hand, and write their names on each of the cards. All of the prints will be different (even if you have twins in the class?), but will fall into three major categories (check out the pictures): loop, whorl, and arch. Whorls look like a tornado, arches look like a hill, and loops look like a mountain.

Now, to the analysis. Write the name of each classmate down the left side of a piece of paper. Across the top write loop, whorl, and arch. Now count the number of loops each person has and write it down in the appropriate box. Is one pattern more frequent than another? Now, within each person’s set of fingerprints, are almost all of them one pattern, but one is different? If you figure it out, please write!

For more information on fingerprint analysis and forensic science, visit this website. (What does "dermatoglyphics" mean?) Or, for a really fun site dealing with all things criminal, visit a kids’ page that is definitely not just for kids:

Now go print!


Jennifer White, NIGMS

The NIH Catalyst is published bi-monthly for and by the intramural scientists at NIH. Address correspondence to Building 2, Room 2W23, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892. Ph: (301) 402-1449; fax: (301) 402-4303; e-mail: <catalyst@nih.gov>.

Michael Gottesman
Deputy Director for Intramural Research, OD

John I. Gallin
Director, Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center,
and Associate Director for Clinical Research

Lance Liotta
Chief, Laboratory of Pathology, NCI


Celia Hooper

Fran Pollner

Shauna Roberts

Peter Kozel

Jennifer White



Jorge Carrasquillo, CC
David Davies, NIDDK
Dale Graham, CIT
Hynda Kleinman, NIDCR
Elise Kohn, NCI
Susan Leitman, CC
Bernard Moss, NIAID
Michael Rogawski, NINDS
Joan Schwartz, NINDS
Gisela Storz, NICHD


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