I I was watching something the other day and using math they were able to trace droplets of water back to an origin point (they used that I then find the origin of a rapist but I don't know about that being realistically possible) but they didn't say what it was called that they were doing, usually they do and I look it up to learn more and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what this analysis was called, tracing data back to a source. Thanks!
This was from episode 1 of the Numb3rs series. Here's the episodes with the associated math topics covered: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Numbers_episodes_(season_1) and here's a pdf of work done to track pollution: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...=-XfN-Zw0-ieTUyI-L7W5pA&bvm=bv.72676100,d.b2U
Would it actually be possible to do what he did and track a criminal back to an origin point like that?
Yes, I think its possible and yes I think it was actually used by a mathematician police officer in Canada a few years earlier, developed into an application for poilce depts and was the basis for the episode. This may answer your question better: http://www.math.cornell.edu/~numb3rs/luthy/num101.html and for other episodes: http://www.math.cornell.edu/~numb3rs/lipa/Episodes/ Lastly, some more commentary of some episodes and how realistic the math was: http://homepage.smc.edu/nestler_andrew/numb3rs.htm