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The Science Behind: Forensic Sciences

Have you ever read a murder mystery and wondered how they figure it all out in such ingenious ways? Reading Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, or maybe watching shows such as Criminal Minds or Blacklist has always made me wonder if this is how it's done in real life.

Forensic science, according to Merriam Webster is, “the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice especially as relating to the collection, examination, and analysis of physical evidence”. The job of a forensic scientist is to document all the evidence that there is and to research and present the evidence to others involved in the case such as detectives. Forensic scientists take photos and physical measurements of the scene. They also collect evidence such as fingerprints, blood and other bodily fluids, etc. The scientist makes sure this evidence goes through the proper chain of custody.

Due to the fact that the forensic sciences is such a broad topic, it is divided into three major groups.

  1. Forensic Pathology - People in this group are mostly medical examiners and oversee autopsies and clinical forensic examinations.

  2. Forensic Science - People in this group are professionals who work in a lab for law enforcement, government, or private corporations in which they do tests and analyses, including but not limited to toxicology, ballistics, trace evidence, etc.

  3. Associated Science - These are people with very specific specialties such as forensic botanists, forensic odontologists, forensic artists, etc. They would not be helpful in every single crime scene but their expertise in their field can be valuable.

Law enforcement works with forensic scientists by using their analysis of the evidence found to help catch the criminal. To become a forensic scientist there are a number of courses you can take depending on what you want your specialty to be. Some of the degrees are BS in Crime Investigation, BS in Forensic Science and more. If you want to learn more got to

Forensic science is a valuable asset to bringing justice to the people. Though the TV shows and books may not be the most accurate, forensic science is an actual career choice, provided you’re not grossed out by a lot of things, since crime scenes might have some blood/gore. You need to have good communication skills and the ability to keep a level head under stress. Though not as portrayed in books and TV shows, forensic science helps a lot in the legal system. It is a very interesting field and many advances are to be made.



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