Crime Scene Forensics: A Scientific Method Approach
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If there is damage to some of the bones, the anthropologist may be able to determine what type of trauma caused it. If the skull is present, it may be possible to prepare an approximate face on the skull using skull superimposition—building a face out of clay using average thickness measurements developed by anatomists, pathologists, and anthropologists. Investigators may then publish a picture of the face to see if it evokes a response from a relative of a missing person. If a possible match to the skeleton is found and there are antemortem pictures available, then a new video superimposition technique may be used.
Is the (traditional) Galilean science paradigm well suited to forensic science?
That technique utilizes two cameras to superimpose the skull over the picture of the actual face to determine if the skull could be the right one. Criminalistics can be defined as the application of scientific methods to the recognition, collection, identification, and comparison of physical evidence generated by criminal or illegal civil activity. It also involves the reconstruction of such events by evaluation of the physical evidence and the crime scene.
Other forensic scientists may help identify, collect, and evaluate physical evidence at a crime scene.
Forensic engineering uses the concepts of mechanical , chemical , civil , and electrical engineering as tools in the reconstruction of crimes and accidents and the determination of their cause. A major component of that work involves traffic accident reconstruction. To determine what may have caused the accident, forensic engineers use evidence such as skid marks; damage to cars and their positions after the accident; road and environmental conditions; injuries to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians; and witness accounts. In developing their explanations, engineers may work in concert with forensic pathologists, toxicologists, criminalists, and other engineers.
Some forensic engineers specialize in marine incidents or aircraft crashes.
Legal aspects of Forensics
Another major area of forensic engineering is failure analysis. Mechanical, chemical, civil, and structural engineers all bring their skills to bear on problems involving how and why buildings or other structures deteriorate or fail prematurely. An example of such work was the collapse of a walkway high above the lobby of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel in , which killed and injured many people. Forensic engineers were called in to determine why the balcony collapsed. A somewhat unusual application of forensic engineering involves animals on farms where high-voltage power lines or communication transmission lines pass overhead.
Many electrical engineers have studied this problem and cases have ended up in court. Forensic engineers are usually educated engineers who have earned a doctorate and who develop expertise in one or more of the forensically important disciplines. There are no university graduate programs in forensic engineering; most of the expertise is developed on the job, perhaps working with more-experienced practitioners. Forensic science. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.
Forensic scientists perform both physical and chemical analyses on physical evidence obtained by crime scene investigators and law enforcement officials at the crime scene. These scientific experts use microscopic examining techniques, complex instruments, mathematical principles, scientific principles, and reference literature to analyze evidence as to identify both class and individual characteristics.
Although the majority of forensic scientists perform their jobs within the confines of the forensic laboratory or morgue, their work may also take them outside of 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 government, private laboratories, and hospitals.
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They may also serve as independent forensic science consultants. Due to the highly complex field of forensic science, forensic scientists are most often skilled in a particular area of forensic science, such as latent prints, questioned documents, trace evidence, or firearms, just to name a few.
Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods
Forensic science often includes even more specialized fields, such as forensic accounting, forensic engineering, and forensic psychiatry, among others. Although forensic science may be a very complex study, particularly in the areas of DNA and trace evidence, for example, the study of forensic science is grounded in fundamental concepts and techniques that are gathered from the natural sciences. In particular, the study of forensic science involves a multi-disciplinary approach that covers everything from biological methods to analytical chemistry techniques.
The majority of forensic scientists study a specific physical science, such as chemistry or biology, while others pursue forensic science degrees that are rooted in either chemistry or biology.
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A comprehensive degree from a college or university draws from the biological sciences, as well as from the fields of criminal justice and the law. Students learn to develop an appreciation of both the scientific and social environment of the criminal justice system, and many students go on to focus their degrees on specific areas of forensic science, such as DNA, trace evidence, toxicology, latent prints, or questioned documents, for example.
What is Forensics?