The term forensics includes forensic (or forensis, in Latin), which means a public discussion or debate. In a more modern context, however, forensics applies to courts or the justice system. Combine that with science, and forensics means using scientific methods and processes to solve crimes.
Forensic science began to be used in the late 18th century, when medical professionals began to use writings that revealed the first evidence of modern pathology, to the formation of the first school of forensics in 1909; The development of forensics has been used to uncover mysteries, solve crimes, and convict or exonerate suspects of crime for hundreds of years.
The extraordinary scientific innovations and advances in forensics have made it a sophisticated science involving a number of disciplines and thousands of forensic scientists specializing in DNA and botany, dentistry and toolmakers.
The application of forensics
The field of forensics draws on a number of scientific branches, including physics, chemistry, and biology, with an emphasis on the detection, identification, and evaluation of physical evidence. It has become an essential part of the justice system, using a wide range of sciences to obtain information relevant to criminal and legal evidence.
Forensics can prove the existence of a crime, the perpetrator of a crime, or a link to a crime through the:
Examining physical evidence
Administration of tests
Interpretation of data
Clear and concise reporting
Truthful testimony of a forensic scientist
Forensic science has become an integral part of many criminal cases and convictions, with objective facts through scientific evidence serving both defense and prosecution arguments. The testimony of forensic scientists has become a trusted component of many civil and criminal cases, as these professionals are not concerned with the outcome of the case.only with their objective testimony based solely on scientific facts.
Forensic scientists perform both physical and chemical analysis on physical evidence obtained from crime scene investigators and law enforcement officers at the scene. These scientific experts use microscopic examination techniques, complex instrumentation, mathematical principles, scientific principles, and reference literature to analyze evidence to identify both class and individual characteristics.
Although the majority of forensic scientists perform their work within the confines of the forensic laboratory or morgue, their work may take them outside the laboratory and to the crime scene, where they observe the scene and collect evidence. Forensic scientists may work for local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and departments, private laboratories, and hospitals. They may also serve as independent forensic science consultants.
The Organization of Forensic Science
Because of the highly complex field of forensics, forensic scientists are most often trained in a specific area of forensics, such as latent prints, interrogated documents, trace evidence, or firearms, to name a few.
Forensic pathologists can be divided into three broad groups:
Forensic pathologists: These include medical examiners and other professionals who oversee autopsies and clinical forensic examinations
Forensic scientists: these include forensic scientists who work in law enforcement, government, or private forensic laboratories and are responsible for processing a range of specific tests and analyses such as toxicology, ballistics, trace evidence, etc.
Associate Scientists: include scientific professionals who lend their knowledge to forensic science, such as forensic odontologists, forensic botanists, forensic anthropologists, etc. These scientists apply their knowledge to the field of forensics to provide investigators with vital information on everything from bite marks to insect infestations on the postmortem body.
Forensic science is therefore further divided into the following areas:
Forensic DNA Analysis
Forensic science often includes even more specialized areas such as forensic accounting, forensic science, and forensic psychiatry.
The Study of Forensic Science
Although forensics can be a very complex study, especially in the areas of DNA – and trace evidence, the study of forensics, for example, is based on basic concepts and techniques that come from the natural sciences. In particular, the study of forensics involves a multidisciplinary approach that covers everything from biological methods to analytical chemical techniques.
The majority of forensic scientists study a specific physical science such as chemistry or biology, while others pursue forensic degrees rooted in either chemistry or biology.
A comprehensive degree from a college or university comes from the biological sciences as well as criminal justice and law. Students learn to appreciate both the scientific and social environments of the criminal justice system, and many students focus on specific areas of forensics, such as DNA, trace evidence, toxicology, latent prints, or interrogated documents, for example.