John Augustus Larson Inventor

John Augustus Larson was a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department, California, United States, and famous for his invention of modern polygraph used in forensic investigations. He was the first American police officer having an academic doctorate and to use polygraph in criminal investigations. After famed career in criminal investigation, he died of heart attack in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 72. Larson was born in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada, of Nordic parents. His family moved to New England in his early childhood, and his parents soon divorced. He studied biology at the Boston University earning his degree through doing odd jobs to support himself, from being a busboy, paperboy, stonecutter to elevator operator. In 1915 he earned his master degree with a thesis on fingerprint identification. This work inspired his interest in forensic science and eventually landed him at the University of California, Berkeley, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in physiology in 1920 He joined the Berkeley police force in 1920.

Personal details

Date of birth
December 11th, 1892
United Kingdom,United States of America
Date of death
October 1st, 1965 at age of 72
Place of death
Berkeley, California, United States of America
Places lived
California , United States of America
pop. 38,332,521 (2013)


1. University of California, Berkeley Colleges/University

The University of California, Berkeley (also referred to as UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, or simply Cal) is a public research university located in Berkeley, California, United States. The university occupies 1,232 acres (499 ha) on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay with the central campus resting on 178 acres (72 ha). Berkeley offers approximately 350 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. Established in 1868 as the result of merger of the private College of California and the public Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in Oakland, Berkeley is the oldest of the ten major campuses affiliated with the University of California (UC). Berkeley has been charged with providing both "classical" and "practical" education for the state's people and is generally considered to be the flagship institution in the University of California system. Berkeley co-manages three United States Department of Energy National Laboratories, including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Institution info

Type University
2012. 3.33 bil. $
2011. 3.03 bil. $
2010. 2.6 bil. $
Institution colors
March 23rd, 1868
200 California Hall # 1500, 94720 - Berkeley, California
2012. 25,774
2011. 25,885
2010. 25,540
2009. 25,534
2006. 23,863
2012. 10,125
2011. 10,257
2010. 10,293
2009. 10,313
Acceptance rate
2014. 17.0 %
2012. 18.0 %
2011. 25.6 %
2010. 21.0 %
Local tuition
2013. 12.9 K $
2012. 12.9 K $
2011. 12.8 K $
2010. 10.9 K $
2009. 8.94 K $
Official web page
Wikipedia article
Social media

Institution social analysis

Notable alumni by career
Notable alumni by gender
Notable alumni by party membership

People attended University of California, Berkeley connected by profession and/or age

b. 1920., Inventor
b. 1925., Inventor
b. 1903., Inventor
b. 1904., Inventor
b. 1950., Inventor
b. 1914., Inventor
b. 1914., Inventor
b. 1889., Physician

2. Boston University Colleges/University

Boston University (often initialized as BU) is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers. The university is nonsectarian, but is historically affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Institution info

Type Private university
2013. 1.28 bil. $
2010. 1.02 bil. $
Institution colors
One Silber Way, 02215 - Boston, Massachusetts
2013. 16,545
2010. 18,714
2009. 18,187
2013. 14,132
2010. 14,013
Acceptance rate
2013. 37.0 %
2012. 45.5 %
2011. 49.0 %
2010. 58.0 %
Local tuition
2013. 44 K $
2010. 39.3 K $
Official web page
Wikipedia article
Social media

Institution social analysis

Notable alumni by career
Notable alumni by gender
Notable alumni by party membership

People attended Boston University connected by profession and/or age

b. 1894., Comedian
b. 1888., Journalist
b. 1897., Poet
b. 1893., Psychologist
b. 1893., U.S. Congressperson
b. 1889., Writer
b. 1892., U.S. Congressperson
b. 1891., Writer



A polygraph measures and records several physiological indices such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions. The belief underpinning the use of the polygraph is that deceptive answers will produce physiological responses that can be differentiated from those associated with non-deceptive answers; the polygraph is one of several devices used for lie detection. The polygraph was invented in 1921 by John Augustus Larson, a medical student at the University of California at Berkeley and a police officer of the Berkeley Police Department in Berkeley, California. The polygraph was on the Encyclopædia Britannica 2003 list of greatest inventions, described as inventions that "have had profound effects on human life for better or worse." The efficacy of polygraphs is debated in the scientific community. In 2001, a significant fraction of the scientific community considered polygraphy to be pseudoscience.

Other inventors involved

Invention on wikipedia


Check John Augustus Larson on wikipedia.

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