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In a "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London" paper in 1684, Dr. Nehemiah Grew was the first European to publish friction ridge skin observations. 

Dutch anatomist Govard Bidloo's 1685 book, "Anatomy of the Human Body" also described friction ridge skin (papillary ridge) details. 

In 1686, Marcello Malpighi, an anatomy professor at the University of Bologna, noted fingerprint ridges, spirals and loops in his treatise. A layer of skin was named after him; "Malpighi" layer, which is approximately mm thick.

No mention of friction ridge skin uniqueness or permanence was made by Grew, Bidloo or Malpighi.

Deliberate impressions of fingerprints may be formed by ink or other substances transferred from the peaks of friction ridges on the skin to a relatively smooth surface such as a fingerprint card. [2] Fingerprint records normally contain impressions from the pad on the last joint of fingers and thumbs, although fingerprint cards also typically record portions of lower joint areas of the fingers.

This is quite unfortunate. To see why, imagine (for simplicity) that a substructure-search program takes 2 N /10 6 seconds to compute where N is the number of atoms. This program can solve a 1-atom problem in a microsecond, and a 10-atom problem takes about a millisecond. This does not seem too bad until we realize that each time we add an atom we double our time: a 20-atom problem takes about a second, and a 30-atom problem takes 17 minutes. Clearly this algorithm will be inadequate as we attempt to solve real chemical problems. By contrast, if we could find an algorithm that ran in N 2 /10 3 seconds, it would be 1000 times slower on the 1-atom problem but could solve the 30-atom problem in less than a second. Clearly a polynomial solution is better than an exponential solution.

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