Forensic science is the application of science to criminal and civil laws, mainly—on the criminal side—during criminal investigation, as governed by the legal standards of admissible evidence and criminal procedure.
Forensic scientists collect, preserve, and analyze scientific evidence during the course of an investigation. While some forensic scientists travel to the scene of the crime to collect the evidence themselves, others occupy a laboratory role, performing analysis on objects brought to them by other individuals.
In addition to their laboratory role, forensic scientists testify as expert witnesses in both criminal and civil cases and can work for either the prosecution or the defense. While any field could technically be forensic, certain sections have developed over time to encompass the majority of forensically related cases. Forensic science is a combination of two different Latin words: forensis and science. The former, forensic, relates to a discussion or examination performed in public. Because trials in the ancient world were typically held in public, it carries a strong judicial connotation. The second is science, which is derived from the Latin word for ‘knowledge’ and is today closely tied to the scientific method, a systematic way of acquiring knowledge. Taken together, then, forensic science can be seen as the use of the scientific methods and processes in crime solving.
The word forensic comes from the Latin term forensis, meaning "of or before the forum". The history of the term originates from Roman times, during which a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals in the forum. Both the person accused of the crime and the accuser would give speeches based on their sides of the story. The case would be decided in favor of the individual with the best argument and delivery. This origin is the source of the two modern usages of the word forensic – as a form of legal evidence and as a category of public presentation. In modern use, the term forensics in the place of forensic science can be considered correct, as the term forensic is effectively a synonym for legal or related to courts. However, the term is now so closely associated with the scientific field that many dictionaries include the meaning that equates the word forensics with forensic science.
The ancient world lacked standardized forensic practices, which aided criminals in escaping punishment. Criminal investigations and trials heavily relied on forced confessions and witness testimony. However, ancient sources do contain several accounts of techniques that foreshadow concepts in forensic science that were developed centuries later.
The first written account of using medicine and entomology to solve criminal cases is attributed to the book of Xi Yuan Lu (translated as Washing Away of Wrongs), written in China by Song Ci (宋慈, 1186–1249) in 1248, who was a director of justice, jail and supervision, during the Song dynasty. Gunhegarancha Kardankal (Scourge of the Criminals, Lotus Publications Pvt. Ltd.) authored by Dr. Vasudha Apte (Professor & Scientist – Forensic Medicine, India) in Marathi provides information about 130 different methods of forensic investigations in detail.
Song Ci ruled regulation about autopsy report for court, how to protect the evidence in the examining process, the reason why workers must show examination to public impartiality. He concluded methods on how to make antiseptic and to reappear the hidden injury from dead bodies and bones (using sunlight under red-oil umbrella and vinegar); how to calculate the death time (according to weather and insects); how to wash dead body for examining the different reasons of death. At that time, the book had given methods to distinguish suicide or pretending suicide.
In one of Song Ci's accounts (Washing Away of Wrongs), the case of a person murdered with a sickle was solved by an investigator who instructed everyone to bring his sickle to one location. (He realized it was a sickle by testing various blades on an animal carcass and comparing the wound.) Flies, attracted by the smell of blood, eventually gathered on a single sickle. In light of this, the murderer confessed. For example, the book also described how to distinguish between a drowning (water in the lungs) and strangulation (broken neck cartilage), along with other evidence from examining corpses on determining if a death was caused by murder, suicide or an accident.
Methods from around the world involved saliva and examination of the mouth and tongue to determine innocence or guilt, as a precursor to the Polygraph test. In ancient India, some suspects were made to fill their mouths with dried rice and spit it back out. Similarly, in ancient China, those accused of a crime would have rice powder placed in their mouths. In ancient middle-eastern cultures, the accused were made to lick hot metal rods briefly. It is thought that these tests had some validity since a guilty person would produce less saliva and thus have a drier mouth; the accused would be considered guilty if rice was sticking to their mouths in abundance or if their tongues were severely burned due to lack of shielding from saliva.
In 16th-century Europe, medical practitioners in army and university settings began to gather information on the cause and manner of death. Ambroise Paré, a French army surgeon, systematically studied the effects of violent death on internal organs. Two Italian surgeons, Fortunato Fidelis and Paolo Zacchia, laid the foundation of modern pathology by studying changes that occurred in the structure of the body as the result of disease. In the late 18th century, writings on these topics began to appear. These included A Treatise on Forensic Medicine and Public Health by the French physician Francois Immanuele Fodéré and The Complete System of Police Medicine by the German medical expert Johann Peter Frank.
As the rational values of the Enlightenment era increasingly permeated society in the 18th century, criminal investigation became a more evidence-based, rational procedure − the use of torture to force confessions was curtailed, and belief in witchcraft and other powers of the occult largely ceased to influence the court's decisions. Two examples of English forensic science in individual legal proceedings demonstrate the increasing use of logic and procedure in criminal investigations at the time. In 1784, in Lancaster, John Toms was tried and convicted for murdering Edward Culshaw with a pistol. When the dead body of Culshaw was examined, a pistol wad (crushed paper used to secure powder and balls in the muzzle) found in his head wound matched perfectly with a torn newspaper found in Toms's pocket, leading to the conviction.
In Warwick 1816, a farm laborer was tried and convicted of the murder of a young maidservant. She had been drowned in a shallow pool and bore the marks of violent assault. The police found footprints and an impression from corduroy cloth with a sewn patch in the damp earth near the pool. There were also scattered grains of wheat and chaff. The breeches of a farm labourer who had been threshing wheat nearby were examined and corresponded exactly to the impression in the earth near the pool.
A method for detecting arsenious oxide, simple arsenic, in corpses was devised in 1773 by the Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele. His work was expanded, in 1806, by German chemist Valentin Ross, who learned to detect the poison in the walls of a victim's stomach.
James Marsh was the first to apply this new science to the art of forensics. He was called by the prosecution in a murder trial to give evidence as a chemist in 1832. The defendant, John Bodle, was accused of poisoning his grandfather with arsenic-laced coffee. Marsh performed the standard test by mixing a suspected sample with hydrogen sulfide and hydrochloric acid. While he was able to detect arsenic as yellow arsenic trisulfide, when it was shown to the jury it had deteriorated, allowing the suspect to be acquitted due to reasonable doubt.
Annoyed by that, Marsh developed a much better test. He combined a sample containing arsenic with sulfuric acid and arsenic-free zinc, resulting in arsine gas. The gas was ignited, and it decomposed to pure metallic arsenic, which, when passed to a cold surface, would appear as a silvery-black deposit. So sensitive was the test, known formally as the Marsh test, that it could detect as little as one-fiftieth of a milligram of arsenic. He first described this test in The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal in 1836.
Henry Goddard at Scotland Yard pioneered the use of bullet comparison in 1835. He noticed a flaw in the bullet that killed the victim and was able to trace this back to the mold that was used in the manufacturing process.
The French police officer Alphonse Bertillon was the first to apply the anthropological technique of anthropometry to law enforcement, thereby creating an identification system based on physical measurements. Before that time, criminals could only be identified by name or photograph. Dissatisfied with the ad hoc methods used to identify captured criminals in France in the 1870s, he began his work on developing a reliable system of anthropometrics for human classification.
Bertillon created many other forensics techniques, including forensic document examination, the use of galvanoplastic compounds to preserve footprints, ballistics, and the dynamometer, used to determine the degree of force used in breaking and entering. Although his central methods were soon to be supplanted by fingerprinting, "his other contributions like the mug shot and the systematization of crime-scene photography remain in place to this day."
Sir William Herschel was one of the first to advocate the use of fingerprinting in the identification of criminal suspects. While working for the Indian Civil Service, he began to use thumbprints on documents as a security measure to prevent the then-rampant repudiation of signatures in 1858.
In 1877 at Hooghly (near Kolkata), Herschel instituted the use of fingerprints on contracts and deeds, and he registered government pensioners' fingerprints to prevent the collection of money by relatives after a pensioner's death.
In 1880, Dr. Henry Faulds, a Scottish surgeon in a Tokyo hospital, published his first paper on the subject in the scientific journal Nature, discussing the usefulness of fingerprints for identification and proposing a method to record them with printing ink. He established their first classification and was also the first to identify fingerprints left on a vial. Returning to the UK in 1886, he offered the concept to the Metropolitan Police in London, but it was dismissed at that time.
Faulds wrote to Charles Darwin with a description of his method, but, too old and ill to work on it, Darwin gave the information to his cousin, Francis Galton, who was interested in anthropology. Having been thus inspired to study fingerprints for ten years, Galton published a detailed statistical model of fingerprint analysis and identification and encouraged its use in forensic science in his book Finger Prints. He had calculated that the chance of a "false positive" (two different individuals having the same fingerprints) was about 1 in 64 billion.
Juan Vucetich, an Argentine chief police officer, created the first method of recording the fingerprints of individuals on file. In 1892, after studying Galton's pattern types, Vucetich set up the world's first fingerprint bureau. In that same year, Francisca Rojas of Necochea was found in a house with neck injuries whilst her two sons were found dead with their throats cut. Rojas accused a neighbour, but despite brutal interrogation, this neighbour would not confess to the crimes. Inspector Alvarez, a colleague of Vucetich, went to the scene and found a bloody thumb mark on a door. When it was compared with Rojas' prints, it was found to be identical with her right thumb. She then confessed to the murder of her sons.
A Fingerprint Bureau was established in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, in 1897, after the Council of the Governor General approved a committee report that fingerprints should be used for the classification of criminal records. Working in the Calcutta Anthropometric Bureau, before it became the Fingerprint Bureau, were Azizul Haque and Hem Chandra Bose. Haque and Bose were Indian fingerprint experts who have been credited with the primary development of a fingerprint classification system eventually named after their supervisor, Sir Edward Richard Henry. The Henry Classification System, co-devised by Haque and Bose, was accepted in England and Wales when the first United Kingdom Fingerprint Bureau was founded in Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police headquarters, London, in 1901. Sir Edward Richard Henry subsequently achieved improvements in dactyloscopy.
In the United States, Dr. Henry P. DeForrest used fingerprinting in the New York Civil Service in 1902, and by December 1905, New York City Police Department Deputy Commissioner Joseph A. Faurot, an expert in the Bertillon system and a fingerprint advocate at Police Headquarters, introduced the fingerprinting of criminals to the United States.
The Uhlenhuth test, or the antigen–antibody precipitin test for species, was invented by Paul Uhlenhuth in 1901 and could distinguish human blood from animal blood, based on the discovery that the blood of different species had one or more characteristic proteins. The test represented a major breakthrough and came to have tremendous importance in forensic science. The test was further refined for forensic use by the Swiss chemist Maurice Müller in the 1960s.
Forensic DNA analysis was first used in 1984. It was developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys, who realized that variation in the genetic code could be used to identify individuals and to tell individuals apart from one another. The first application of DNA profiles was used by Jefferys in a double murder mystery in the small English town of Narborough, Leicestershire in 1985. A 15-year-old school girl by the name of Lynda Mann was raped and murdered in Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital. The police did not find a suspect but were able to obtain a semen sample.
In 1986, Dawn Ashworth, 15 years old, was also raped and strangled in a nearby village of Enderby. Forensic evidence showed that both killers had the same blood type. Richard Buckland became the suspect because he worked at Carlton Hayes psychiatric hospital, had been spotted near Dawn Ashworth's murder scene and knew unreleased details about the body. He later confessed to Dawn's murder but not Lynda's. Jefferys was brought into the case to analyze the semen samples. He concluded that there was no match between the samples and Buckland, who became the first person to be exonerated using DNA. Jefferys confirmed that the DNA profiles were identical for the two murder semen samples. To find the perpetrator, DNA samples from the entire male population, more than 4,000 aged from 17 to 34, of the town were collected. They all were compared to semen samples from the crime. A friend of Colin Pitchfork was heard saying that he had given his sample to the police claiming to be Colin. Colin Pitchfork was arrested in 1987 and it was found that his DNA profile matched the semen samples from the murder.
Because of this case, DNA databases were developed. There is the national (FBI) and international databases as well as the European countries (ENFSI : European Network of Forensic Science Institutes). These searchable databases are used to match crime scene DNA profiles to those already in a database.
By the turn of the 20th century, the science of forensics had become largely established in the sphere of criminal investigation. Scientific and surgical investigation was widely employed by the Metropolitan Police during their pursuit of the mysterious Jack the Ripper, who had killed a number of prostitutes in the 1880s. This case is a watershed in the application of forensic science. Large teams of policemen conducted house-to-house inquiries throughout Whitechapel. Forensic material was collected and examined. Suspects were identified, traced and either examined more closely or eliminated from the inquiry. Police work follows the same pattern today. Over 2000 people were interviewed, "upwards of 300" people were investigated, and 80 people were detained.
The investigation was initially conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. Later, Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore, and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. Initially, butchers, surgeons and physicians were suspected because of the manner of the mutilations. The alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the inquiry. Some contemporary figures thought the pattern of the murders indicated that the culprit was a butcher or cattle drover on one of the cattle boats that plied between London and mainland Europe. Whitechapel was close to the London Docks, and usually such boats docked on Thursday or Friday and departed on Saturday or Sunday. The cattle boats were examined, but the dates of the murders did not coincide with a single boat's movements, and the transfer of a crewman between boats was also ruled out.
At the end of October, Robert Anderson asked police surgeon Thomas Bond to give his opinion on the extent of the murderer's surgical skill and knowledge. The opinion offered by Bond on the character of the "Whitechapel murderer" is the earliest surviving offender profile. Bond's assessment was based on his own examination of the most extensively mutilated victim and the post mortem notes from the four previous canonical murders. In his opinion the killer must have been a man of solitary habits, subject to "periodical attacks of homicidal and erotic mania", with the character of the mutilations possibly indicating "satyriasis". Bond also stated that "the homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that religious mania may have been the original disease but I do not think either hypothesis is likely".
Handbook for Coroners, police officials, military policemen was written by the Austrian criminal jurist Hans Gross in 1893, and is generally acknowledged as the birth of the field of criminalistics. The work combined in one system fields of knowledge that had not been previously integrated, such as psychology and physical science, and which could be successfully used against crime. Gross adapted some fields to the needs of criminal investigation, such as crime scene photography. He went on to found the Institute of Criminalistics in 1912, as part of the University of Graz' Law School. This Institute was followed by many similar institutes all over the world.
In 1909, Archibald Reiss founded the Institut de police scientifique of the University of Lausanne (UNIL), the first school of forensic science in the world. Dr. Edmond Locard, became known as the "Sherlock Holmes of France". He formulated the basic principle of forensic science: "Every contact leaves a trace", which became known as Locard's exchange principle. In 1910, he founded what may have been the first criminal laboratory in the world, after persuading the Police Department of Lyon (France) to give him two attic rooms and two assistants.
Symbolic of the new found prestige of forensics and the use of reasoning in detective work was the popularity of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, written by Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century. He remains a great inspiration for forensic science, especially for the way his acute study of a crime scene yielded small clues as to the precise sequence of events. He made great use of trace evidence such as shoe and tire impressions, as well as fingerprints, ballistics and Handwriting Analysis, now known as questioned document examination. Such evidence is used to test theories conceived by the police, for example, or by the investigator himself. All of the techniques advocated by Holmes later became reality, but were generally in their infancy at the time Conan Doyle was writing. In many of his reported cases, Holmes frequently complains of the way the crime scene has been contaminated by others, especially by the police, emphasising the critical importance of maintaining its integrity, a now well-known feature of crime scene examination. He used analytical chemistry for blood residue analysis as well as toxicology examination and determination for poisons. He used ballistics by measuring bullet calibres and matching them with a suspected murder weapon.
Hans Gross applied scientific methods to crime scenes and was responsible for the birth of criminalistics.
Edmund Locard expanded on Gross' work with Locard's Exchange Principle which stated "whenever two objects come into contact with one another, materials are exchanged between them". This means that every contact by a criminal leaves a trace. Locard was also known as the "Sherlock Holmes of France".
Alexander Lacassagne, who taught Locard, produced autopsy standards on actual forensic cases.
Alphonse Bertillon was a French criminologist and founder of Anthropometry (scientific study of measurements and proportions of the human body). He used anthropometry for identification, saying each individual is unique and by measuring aspect of physical difference, there could be a personal identification system. He created the Bertillon System around 1879, which was a way to identify criminals and citizens by measuring 20 parts of the body. In 1884, there was over 240 repeat offenders caught through the Bertillon system. Fingerprinting became more reliable than the Bertillon system.
Frances Glessner Lee, known as "the mother of forensic science," was instrumental in the development of forensic science in the US. She lobbied to have coroners replaced by medical professionals, endowed the Harvard Associates in Police Science, and conducted many seminars to educate homicide investigators. She also created the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, intricate crime scene dioramas used to train investigators. They are still in use today.
Later in the 20th century several British pathologists, Mikey Rochman, Francis Camps, Sydney Smith and Keith Simpson pioneered new forensic science methods. Alec Jeffreys pioneered the use of DNA profiling in forensic science in 1984. He realized the scope of DNA fingerprinting, which uses variations in the genetic code to identify individuals. The method has since become important in forensic science to assist police detective work, and it has also proved useful in resolving paternity and immigration disputes. DNA fingerprinting was first used as a police forensic test to identify the rapist and killer of two teenagers, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, who were both murdered in Narborough, Leicestershire, in 1983 and 1986 respectively. Colin Pitchfork was identified and convicted of murder after samples taken from him matched semen samples taken from the two dead girls.
Forensic science has been fostered by a number of national forensic science learned bodies including the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences, (founded in 1959), then known as the Forensic Science Society, publisher of Science & Justice;. American Academy of Forensic Sciences (founded 1948), publishers of the Journal of Forensic Sciences; the Canadian Society of Forensic Science (founded 1953), publishers of the Journal of the Canadian Society of Forensic Science; the British Academy of Forensic Sciences (founded 1960), publishers of Medicine, Science and the Law, and the Australian Academy of Forensic Sciences (founded 1967), publishers of the Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences.
In the past decade, documenting forensics scenes has become more efficient. People started using laser scanners, drones and photogrammetry to obtain 3D point clouds of accidents or crime scenes. Reconstruction of an accident scene on a highway using drones involves data acquisition time of only 10–20 minutes and can be performed without shutting down traffic.The results are not just accurate, in centimeters, for measurement to be presented in court but also easy to digitally preserve in the long term.
Some forensic techniques, believed to be scientifically sound at the time they were used, have turned out later to have much less scientific merit or none. Some such techniques include:
Litigation science describes analysis or data developed or produced expressly for use in a trial versus those produced in the course of independent research. This distinction was made by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals when evaluating the admissibility of experts.
In the United States there are over 14,500 forensic science technicians, as of 2014.
Real-life crime scene investigators and forensic scientists warn that popular television shows do not give a realistic picture of the work and often wildlly distorting the nature of the work, and exaggerating the ease, speed, effectiveness, drama, glamour, influence and comfort level of their jobs—which they describe as far more mundane, tedious and boring.
Further, research has suggested that public misperceptions about criminal forensics can create, in the mind of a juror, unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence—which they expect to see before convicting—implicitly biasing the juror towards the defendant. Citing the "CSI Effect," at least one researcher has suggested screening jurors for their level of influence from such TV programs
Questions about certain areas of forensic science, such as fingerprint evidence and the assumptions behind these disciplines have been brought to light in some publications including the New York Post. The article stated that "No one has proved even the basic assumption: That everyone's fingerprint is unique." The article also stated that "Now such assumptions are being questioned – and with it may come a radical change in how forensic science is used by police departments and prosecutors." Law professor Jessica Gabel said on NOVA that forensic science "lacks the rigors, the standards, the quality controls and procedures that we find, usually, in science."
In America, on 25 June 2009, the Supreme Court issued a 5-to-4 decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts stating that crime laboratory reports may not be used against criminal defendants at trial unless the analysts responsible for creating them give testimony and subject themselves to cross-examination. The Supreme Court cited the National Academies report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States in their decision. Writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia referred to the National Research Council report in his assertion that "Forensic evidence is not uniquely immune from the risk of manipulation."
In 2009, scientists indicated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, therefore suggesting it is possible to falsely accuse or acquit a person or persons using forged evidence.
In America, another area of forensic science that has come under question in recent years is the lack of laws requiring the accreditation of forensic labs. Some states require accreditation, but some states do not. Because of this, many labs have been caught performing very poor work resulting in false convictions or acquittals. For example, it was discovered after an audit of the Houston Police Department in 2002 that the lab had fabricated evidence which led George Rodriguez being convicted of raping a fourteen-year-old girl. The former director of the lab, when asked, said that the total number of cases that could have been contaminated by improper work could be in the range of 5,000 to 10,000. This could have been avoided if the lab had been accredited by organizations such as ASCLD/Lab, which require crime labs to undergo rigorous assessments to show that they are able to perform multiple tests accurately. Once they become accredited, they are periodically re-evaluated to ensure that the lab is still functioning at its best. Periodic evaluations of a lab's performance by an independent organization will help to prevent scandals from occurring in forensic science laboratories.
Although forensic science has greatly enhanced the investigator's ability to solve crimes, it has limitations and must be scrutinized in and out of the courtroom to avoid the occurrence of wrongful convictions.
Many studies have discovered a difference in rape related injury reporting based on race, with white victims reporting a higher frequency of injuries than black victims. However, since current forensic examination techniques may not be sensitive to all injuries across a range of skin colors, more research needs to be conducted to understand if this trend is due to skin confounding healthcare providers when examining injuries or if darker skin extends a protective element. In clinical practice, for patients with darker skin, one study recommends that attention must be paid to the thighs, labia majora, posterior fourchette and fossa navicularis, so that no rape related injuries are missed upon close examination.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) uses forensic science for humanitarian purposes to clarify the fate of missing persons after armed conflict, disasters or migration, and is one of the services related to Restoring Family Links and Missing Persons. Knowing what has happened to a missing relative can often make it easier to proceed with the grieving process and move on with life for families of missing persons.
Forensic science is used by various other organizations to clarify the fate and whereabouts of persons who have gone missing. Examples include the NGO Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, working to clarify the fate of people who disappeared during the period of the 1976–1983 military dictatorship. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) uses forensic science to find missing persons, for example after the conflicts in the Balkans.
Recognising the role of forensic science for humanitarian purposes, as well as the importance of forensic investigations in fulfilling the state's responsibilities to investigate human rights violations, a group of experts in the late-1980s devised a UN Manual on the Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, which became known as the Minnesota Protocol. This document was revised and re-published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2016.
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is a society for forensics professionals, founded in 1948. The society is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.
The AAFS provided consultancy on the development of CSI: The Experience, a traveling exhibition about crime lab forensic science and technology inspired by the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The society consist of different sections in the branches of Anthropology, Criminalistics, Digital & Multimedia Sciences, General, Engineering Sciences, Jurisprudence, Odontology, Pathology/Biology, Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Questioned Documents, and Toxicology. The Journal of Forensic Sciences is published by Wiley-Blackwell on the Academy's behalf.CSI effect
The CSI effect, also known as the CSI syndrome and the CSI infection, is any of several ways in which the exaggerated portrayal of forensic science on crime television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation influences public perception. The term was first reported in a 2004 USA Today article describing the effect being made on trial jurors by television programs featuring forensic science. It most often refers to the belief that jurors have come to demand more forensic evidence in criminal trials, thereby raising the effective standard of proof for prosecutors. While this belief is widely held among American legal professionals, some studies have suggested that crime shows are unlikely to cause such an effect, although frequent CSI viewers may place a lower value on circumstantial evidence. As technology improves and becomes more prevalent throughout society, people may also develop higher expectations for the capabilities of forensic technology.Central Forensic Science Laboratory
The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) is a wing of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, which fulfills the forensic requirements in the country.Decontamination
Decontamination (sometimes abbreviated as decon, dcon, or decontam) is the process of cleansing an object or substance to remove contaminants such as micro-organisms or hazardous materials, including chemicals, radioactive substances, and infectious diseases.
The purpose of decontamination is to prevent the spread of micro-organisms and other noxious contaminants that may threaten the health of human beings or animals, or damage the environment.
Decontamination is most commonly used in medical environments, including dentistry, surgery and veterinary science, in the process of food preparation, in environmental science, and in forensic science.Digital forensics
Digital forensics (sometimes known as digital forensic science) is a branch of forensic science encompassing the recovery and investigation of material found in digital devices, often in relation to computer crime. The term digital forensics was originally used as a synonym for computer forensics but has expanded to cover investigation of all devices capable of storing digital data. With roots in the personal computing revolution of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the discipline evolved in a haphazard manner during the 1990s, and it was not until the early 21st century that national policies emerged.
Digital forensics investigations have a variety of applications. The most common is to support or refute a hypothesis before criminal or civil courts. Criminal cases involve the alleged breaking of laws that are defined by legislation and that are enforced by the police and prosecuted by the state, such as murder, theft and assault against the person. Civil cases on the other hand deal with protecting the rights and property of individuals (often associated with family disputes) but may also be concerned with contractual disputes between commercial entities where a form of digital forensics referred to as electronic discovery (ediscovery) may be involved.
Forensics may also feature in the private sector; such as during internal corporate investigations or intrusion investigation (a specialist probe into the nature and extent of an unauthorized network intrusion).
The technical aspect of an investigation is divided into several sub-branches, relating to the type of digital devices involved; computer forensics, network forensics, forensic data analysis and mobile device forensics. The typical forensic process encompasses the seizure, forensic imaging (acquisition) and analysis of digital media and the production of a report into collected evidence.
As well as identifying direct evidence of a crime, digital forensics can be used to attribute evidence to specific suspects, confirm alibis or statements, determine intent, identify sources (for example, in copyright cases), or authenticate documents. Investigations are much broader in scope than other areas of forensic analysis (where the usual aim is to provide answers to a series of simpler questions) often involving complex time-lines or hypotheses.Forensic Science International
Forensic Science International is a peer-reviewed academic journal of forensic science. The journal was established in 1972 and is published by Elsevier. The journal occasionally published supplements from 1999 onwards, but these supplements were spun into their own journal Forensic Science International Supplement Series in 2009. Only one issue of the supplement series was published under its distinct title.Forensic Science Laboratory bombing
The Provisional IRA (PIRA) targeted the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory (NIFSL) buildings on Newtownbreda Road in the outskirts of Belfast with a large 3,000 lb bomb on 19 September 1992. The huge impact of the bomb destroyed the lab and damaged over 1,000 homes within a 1.5 mile radius, including adjacent Belvoir Park, a Protestant housing estate. It was one of the biggest bombs ever detonated during Northern Ireland's Troubles, causing massive damage and being felt from over 10 miles away. Hundreds of residents had to be treated for shock. Several military vehicles were damaged. The lab was a key target because it analysed evidence in terrorist cases. The IRA had given a warning, and British Army bomb disposal experts were investigating an abandoned van when the explosion occurred. One estimate put the repair damage cost at £20 million at the time.According to journalist and author Toby Harnden, the attack, from beginning to end was planned, and carried out by the IRA South Armagh Brigade. Volunteers from the brigade hijacked a truck near Newry and packed it with 3,500 pounds worth of explosives. They left the truck outside the Forensic Science Laboratory at 8:40pm, nearly 45 minutes later after a coded warning the bomb exploded.Maggot
A maggot is the larva of a fly (order Diptera); it is applied in particular to the larvae of Brachycera flies, such as houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies, rather than larvae of the Nematocera, such as mosquitoes and Crane flies. A 2012 study estimated the population of maggots in North America alone to be in excess of 3×105 trillion.Mary Channing Wister School
Mary Channing Wister School, originally the Mary Channing Wister Public School, is a historic school building located in the Poplar neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was designed by Irwin T. Catharine and built in 1925–1926. It is a three-story, three bay, brick building on a raised basement in the Art Deco-style. An addition was built in 1960. It features a freestanding portico with Doric order columns and decorative tile. It is named for the civic leader Mary Channing Wister, the wife of Owen Wister.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.In 2001, the building was renovated to become a new forensic science laboratory for the Philadelphia Police Department. While the facade remains true to the original design with little change, the inside of the building was completely renovated and designated a Green building. The new laboratory is called the Forensic Science Center, operated by the Office of Forensic Science within the Philadelphia Police Department.Microscopy
Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye (objects that are not within the resolution range of the normal eye). There are three well-known branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy, along with the emerging field of X-ray microscopy.
Optical microscopy and electron microscopy involve the diffraction, reflection, or refraction of electromagnetic radiation/electron beams interacting with the specimen, and the collection of the scattered radiation or another signal in order to create an image. This process may be carried out by wide-field irradiation of the sample (for example standard light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy) or by scanning a fine beam over the sample (for example confocal laser scanning microscopy and scanning electron microscopy). Scanning probe microscopy involves the interaction of a scanning probe with the surface of the object of interest. The development of microscopy revolutionized biology, gave rise to the field of histology and so remains an essential technique in the life and physical sciences. X-ray microscopy is three-dimensional and non-destructive, allowing for repeated imaging of the same sample for in situ or 4D studies, and providing the ability to "see inside" the sample being studied before sacrificing it to higher resolution techniques. A 3D X-ray microscope uses the technique of computed tomography (microCT), rotating the sample 360 degrees and reconstructing the images. CT is typically carried out with a flat panel display. A 3D X-ray microscope employs a range of objectives, e.g., from 4X to 40X, and can also include a flat panel.Mizoram Police
The Mizoram Police Force is the law enforcing agency of the state of Mizoram, India.Outline of forensic science
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to forensic science:
Forensic science – application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to a legal system. This may be in matters relating to criminal law, civil law and regulatory laws. it may also relate to non-litigious matters. The term is often shortened to forensics.Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan
Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan (15 April 1934 – 11 July 2017) was an Indian forensic expert, writer and a former director of the Department of Forensics Sciences of the Government of Tamil Nadu. He was best known for his contributions in the investigations in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.Born on 15 April 1934 at Nagapattinam, a coastal town in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Chandra Sekharan secured his graduate and post-graduate degrees from Annamalai University and did doctoral research to obtain a PhD in forensic science from the University of Madras in 1986. He is the president of the Forensics International and has published several articles on the subject of forensics, including Studies on certain forensic aspects of skull identification and individualization, and Forensic science--as is what is and a monograph, Lip forensics : forensic cheiloscopy for crime investigation and criminal identification : labial structure for personal appearance identification and personal identification. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 2000, for his contributions to society. He was married to Evelyn and the couple had a daughter, Meena.Chandra Sekharan died on 11 July 2017, following a brief illness.Petechia
A petechia is a small (1–2 mm) red or purple spot on the skin, caused by a minor bleed from broken capillary blood vessels.Petechia refers to one of the three descriptive types of bleeding into the skin differentiated by size, the other two being purpura and ecchymosis. Petechiae are by definition less than 3 mm.
The term is almost always used in the plural, since a single lesion is seldom noticed or significant.Questioned document examination
In forensic science, questioned document examination (QDE) is the examination of documents potentially disputed in a court of law. Its primary purpose is to provide evidence about a suspicious or questionable document using scientific processes and methods. Evidence might include alterations, the chain of possession, damage to the document, forgery, origin, authenticity, or other questions that come up when a document is challenged in court.The New Detectives
The New Detectives: Case Studies in Forensic Science is a documentary true crime television show that aired two to three different cases in forensic science per episode. Episode reruns currently air on the Discovery Channel, TLC, the Investigation Discovery network, and the Justice Network. Before the series was canceled, the show also aired on The History Channel in the United States and Canal D, Court TV, and Botswana TV in Canada. The show was also carried by international markets where the series was shown on the Discovery Channel UK, Discovery Europe, the Crime & Investigation Network in Australia, Prime TV in New Zealand, TV Norge, TV Danmark, Kanal 5 in Sweden, and RTL in the Netherlands. A version of the series was broadcast on the British Channel Five, under the name Murder Detectives: Case Files.Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy
Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy or ultraviolet–visible spectrophotometry (UV–Vis or UV/Vis) refers to absorption spectroscopy or reflectance spectroscopy in part of the ultraviolet and the full, adjacent visible spectral regions. This means it uses light in the visible and adjacent ranges. The absorption or reflectance in the visible range directly affects the perceived color of the chemicals involved. In this region of the electromagnetic spectrum, atoms and molecules undergo electronic transitions. Absorption spectroscopy is complementary to fluorescence spectroscopy, in that fluorescence deals with transitions from the excited state to the ground state, while absorption measures transitions from the ground state to the excited state.University of Central Florida College of Sciences
The University of Central Florida College of Sciences is the largest academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, United States. The dean of the college is Michael Johnson, Ph.D.The College of Sciences was established in October 2005 after the division of the former College of Arts & Sciences into two separate colleges. It consists of two divisions: the Division of Natural Sciences and the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The Division of Natural Sciences is home to the National Center for Forensic Science, while the division of Social and Behavioral Sciences includes the Nicholson School of Communication, one of the largest schools of communication in the nation. The college is also home to the Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government. In 2007, the college completed construction of a Psychology Building and the second phase of a new Physical Sciences Building is currently under construction.University of New Haven
The University of New Haven (UNH) is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational university located in West Haven, Connecticut, which borders the larger city of New Haven and Long Island Sound. U.S. News & World Report has named the University the 100th best university in the northeastern United States as well as in the top tier of engineering programs nationwide in its annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Between its main campus in West Haven and its graduate school campus in Orange, Connecticut, the University is situated on approximately 122 acres of land. Combining a liberal arts education with professional training, the University comprises six degree-granting colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, the College of Business, the Tagliatela College of Engineering, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and the School of Health Sciences.From 2006–2011, the University’s undergraduate and graduate student enrollment increased by 28% and as of fall 2011 totaled over 6,000 students.
The University is a member of the Northeast-10 Conference and its mascot is the Charger, a medieval war horse. In 2008–2009, new student applications increased 100 percent. New facilities include the David A. Beckerman Recreation Center, Soundview residence hall (Celentano Hall), the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, and Westside residence hall.Situated on about 75 acres overlooking the Connecticut shoreline the main campus is 90 minutes by train to New York City and 2 ½ hours from Boston. Six satellite campuses are located in New London, CT (on the campus of Mitchell College), Waterbury, CT, Shelton, CT, Newington, CT, Albuquerque, NM, and Prato, Italy.