The week 35 Forensic Science Geek of the Week!

The Forensic Science Geek of the Week

Forensic Science Geek of the Week

The week 34 “ Forensic Science Geek of the Week” honors goes to:

Brian Manchester, Esquire

Brian Manchester standing is our Geek of the Week!

Brian Manchester (pictured standing) is our Geek of the Week

About our winner:

Brian Manchester, Esquire is the managing partner of Manchester & Associates practicing with his father R. Bruce Manchester.  According to their website:  “The Law firm of Manchester & Associates is located in Bellefonte, PA in Central Pennsylvania.  Our centralized location allows us to handle criminal defense cases throughout the State of Pennsylvania. At Manchester and Associates we understand when people find themselves accused or charged with a crime, they have numerous questions about the PA judicial system. We also understand how people can feel stressed or anxious and even depressed when criminal legal situations occur.”  I know Brian and he is a very committed criminal defense practitioner.

The Week 35 Forensic Science Geek of the Week: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Congratulations to our Week 35 winner!

All hail the Forensic Science Geek of the Week!!!

See the challenge question that our winner correctly answered.


Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge
Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge
Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge
Forensic Science Geek of the Week Challenge

1. What is the top picture show?

2. What does the second picture show?

3. What type of analysis is this device used for?

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Our Geek of the Week answered:

1. This device is called an auto-sampler. The carousel holds mul­ti­ple vials full of sam­les. The carousel then rotates and indi­vid­ual vials are tested.

2. The sec­ond pic­ture depicts the part of the auto-sampler where a sam­ple is taken from the indi­vid­ual vials. The cylin­dri­cal part with the red bot­tom on the right hand side of the pic­ture holds the device that picks up the head­space vials and this is where the nee­dle that removes the head­space sam­ple is also located.

3. This device is used in head­space gas chro­mo­tog­ra­phy (HS-GC). In head­space gas chro­mo­tog­ra­phy sam­ples are pre­pared and put in sam­ple vials. The sam­ple vials are either crimped or have screw on caps. The vials are then placed in the carousel and heated until equi­lib­rium is reached between the liq­uid part of the sam­ple and the air above the liq­uid. The sci­en­tific prin­ci­pal behind this is based on Henry’s Law. Henry’s law states: at a con­stant tem­per­a­ture, the amount of a given gas dis­solved in a given type and vol­ume of liq­uid is directly pro­por­tional to the par­tial pres­sure of that gas in equi­lib­rium with that liq­uid. The air above the sam­ple is called the headspace.

Once equi­lib­rium is reached the carousel is then rotated to the part of the auto-sampler depicted in pic­ture num­ber two. It is here that a nee­dle is inserted through the sep­tum located on the cap of the head­space vial. A sam­ple of the head­space gas is then taken where it is trans­fered into the injec­tion port of a gas chro­moato­graph for testing.

HS-GC is the method most often used for foren­sic test­ing for ETOH in blood samples.

[BLOGGER’S NOTE: Honorable mention should go to the following other folks who answered the question correctly (but just not first)…

Kelly W. Case, Esquire wrote: “The first pic is of the Perkin Elmer autosam­pler for a Gas Chro­mato­graph. The sam­ple tray heats and moves in a con­fig­u­ra­tion allow­ing the sam­ples to be tested in one com­plete batch. The sec­ond photo is the nee­dle and mechan­ics dri­ving the pierc­ing mech­a­nism in the sam­ple to obtain a sam­ple of the head­space gas, in blood test­ing, and then distributes the sam­ple into the injec­tor port of the GC machine, where test­ing begins. [T]his one of the uses of this test­ing is for test­ing blood for ethanol con­tent. How­ever, it’s use is not lim­ited that that type of test­ing only. It is used to sep­a­rate mol­e­c­u­lar com­pound into their indi­vid­ual com­po­nents, allow­ing us to deter­mine how much time it takes for an ana­lyte to travel a spe­cific dis­tance with para­me­ters of heat col­umn length and flow rate all con­stant. Once the print­out is obtained show­ing the amount of time that a given sub­stance took to elute, that can be com­pared to known sep­a­ra­tion times for other sub­stances to deter­mine what the test sub­stance was com­posed of.”

Ron Moore, Esquire wrote: “The first picture is a carousel for an autosampler. It looks a lot like the HS110 I used to use. The second picture is of the internal heater carousel that incubates 12 headspace vials prior to injection, and the crane that loads and unloads vials. We used to have crane errors when something got out of alignment. They are the sampling system for headspace gc, as done for alcohol analysis.”

Robert Lantz,, Ph.D. (2 weeks in a row he gets honorable mention) who wrote: “The top picture is of the autosampler tray for a GC (I am drawing a blank on the brand).  The second shows, among other components, the stepper motor of the robotic injector tower.  GC is used for a heap of analyses.  The A/S vials are too small for use with headspace analysis, but would be used for liquid injection.  This could be anything from ethanol in blood to much larger molecules, so long as they will evaporate.”


Josh Lee, Esquire who wrote: “1) The top picture is that of a Headspace Autosampler, carousel, and headspace vials. 2) The second picture shows the inside workings of the Autosampler. Inside there is an automated needle that will penetrate down into the headspace vials and draw in a sample and inject it into the device it is attached to; likely a Gas Chromatograph. 3) It is used for headspace testing of blood samples for drugs and alcohol of citizens accused of driving under the influence.”

You all are great! Thanks for answering too!]

The Hall of Fame for the Forensic Science Geek of the Week:
Week 1: Chuck Ramsay, Esquire

Week 2: Rick McIndoe, PhD

Week 3: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 4: Stephen Daniels

Week 5: Stephen Daniels

Week 6: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire

Week 7: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 8: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 9: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 10: Kelly Case, Esquire and Michael Dye, Esquire

Week 11: Brian Manchester, Esquire

Week 12: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 13: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 14: Josh Lee, Esquire

Week 15: Joshua Dale, Esquire and Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire

Week 16: Christine Funk, Esquire

Week 17: Joshua Dale, Esquire

Week 18: Glen Neeley, Esquire

Week 19: Amanda Bynum, Esquire

Week 20: Josh Lee, Esquire

Week 21: Glen Neeley, Esquire

Week 22:  Stephen Daniels

Week 23:  Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.

Week 24: Bobby Spinks

Week 25:  Jon Woolsey, Esquire

Week 26: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 27: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire


Week 29: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 30:  C. Jeffrey Sifers, Esquire

Week 31: Ron Moore, Esquire

Week 32: Mehul B. Anjaria

Week 33: Andy Johnston

Week 34: Ralph R. Ristenbatt, III

Week 35: Brian Manchester, Esquire

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