About the author and interviewees

Rachel Thomas is assistant editor on Plus. For this article Rachel interviewed John Watling and Allen Thomas from Curtin University's School of Applied Chemistry in Western Australia.

John Watling is Associate Professor in Forensic Chemistry in the Applied Chemistry School at Curtin University of Technology. He has a lifetime of experience in Analytical and Applied Chemistry, and is also a Chartered Analytical Chemist. He has served as expert witness in very many court cases worldwide. One of his major interests is using fingerprinting techniques to provenance precious metals, diamonds and other precious stones; and in detecting fraud in works of art and antiquities. Another is scene-of-crime analysis and characterisation. John has been instrumental in establishing a worldwide network in Forensic Criminalistics.

Allen Thomas is an Analytical Chemist with a strong interest in the application of computer science to characterisation and pattern recognition for interpretation of analytical data. He has developed software for graphical display of data to aid in pattern recognition and fingerprinting.