Forensic science is the application of science to the law. Dating back to the time of the Romans, “forensic” is a Latin word meaning “forum.” Forensic Scientists play a critical role in the justice system by providing scientific information to investigators and the courts.
A forensic scientist must be capable of integrating knowledge and skills in the examination, analysis, interpretation, reporting, and courtroom testimony of scientific evidence. Forensic scientists usually have a strong background in the chemical, biological, or physical sciences.
Although the term “criminalistics” is often used to refer to the science and profession responsible for recognition, collection, identification, individualization, and interpretation of physical evidence and natural science, there are a number of disciplines or focus areas.
Some subdivisions of Forensic Science include: Forensic Accounting, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Archaeology, Forensic Chemistry, Digital Forensics, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Geology, Forensic Medicine, Forensic Pathology, and Forensic Psychology.
Forensic accounting is the study and interpretation of accounting evidence.
Forensic anthropology is the application of physical anthropology in a legal setting, usually for the recovery and identification of skeletonized human remains.
Forensic archaeology is the application of a combination of archaeological techniques and forensic science, typically in law enforcement.
Forensic chemistry is the study of detection and identification of illicit drugs, accelerants used in arson cases, explosive and gunshot residue.
Digital forensics is the application of proven scientific methods and techniques in order to recover data from electronic / digital media. Digital Forensic specialists work in the field as well as in the lab.
Forensic entomology deals with the examination of insects in, on and around human remains to assist in determination of time or location of death. It is also possible to determine if the body was moved after death.
Forensic geology deals with trace evidence in the form of soils, minerals and petroleum.
Forensic medicine is the science that deals with the application of medical knowledge to legal questions.
Forensic pathology is a field in which the principles of medicine and pathology are applied to determine a cause of death or injury in the context of a legal inquiry.
Forensic psychology is the study of the mind of an individual, using forensic methods. Usually it determines the circumstances behind a criminal’s behavior.