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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.
Nature of forensic science
General forensics topics include:
Crime – breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority (via mechanisms such as legal systems) can ultimately prescribe a conviction.
Crime scene – location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, crime scene investigators (CSIs) or in rare circumstances, forensic scientists.
CSI effect – phenomenon of popular television shows such as the CSI franchise raising the public's expectations of forensic science, stemming from the "dramatic license" taken by the shows' writers in which they exaggerate the abilities of forensic science, and this is of particular concern in the courtroom setting, where many prosecutors feel pressured to deliver more forensic evidence.
Crime Scene Investigation: crime scene is the most fruitful source to gather forensic evidence (19)
Computational forensics – quantitative approach involving computer-based modeling, computer simulation, analysis, and recognition in studying and solving problems posed in various forensic disciplines. Concerns the development of algorithms and software to assist forensic examination.
Trace evidence analysis is the analysis and comparison of trace evidence including glass, paint, fibers, hair, etc.
Digital forensics – application of proven scientific methods and techniques in order to recover or investigate data from electronic or digital media, often in relation to computer crime.
Mobile device forensics – scientific examination, and evaluation of evidences found in Mobile Phone, e.g. Call History, Deleted SMS etc., also include SIM Card Forensics
Forensic document examination or questioned document examination answers questions about a disputed document using a variety of scientific processes and methods. Many examinations involve a comparison of the questioned document, or components of the document, to a set of known standards. The most common type of examination involves handwriting wherein the examiner tries to address concerns about potential authorship.
Forensic economics – the study and interpretation of economic damage evidence to include present day calculations of lost earnings and benefits, lost earnings and profits, etc.
Forensic engineering – investigation of materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property. Also deals with retracing processes and procedures leading to accidents in operation of vehicles or machinery.
Forensic materials engineering – focuses on the material evidence from crime or accident scenes, seeking defects in those materials which might explain why an accident occurred, or the source of a specific material to identify a criminal.
Forensic entomology – 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 – examination and analysis of trace evidence in the form of soils, minerals and petroleum.
Forensic identification – technology and procedures to identify specific objects from the trace evidence they leave, often at a crime scene or the scene of an accident.
Forensic limnology – analysis of evidence collected from crime scenes in or around fresh water sources. Examination of biological organisms, in particular, diatoms, can be useful in connecting suspects with victims.
Forensic psychiatry – the two main areas of criminal evaluations in forensic psychiatry are evaluating a defendant's competency to stand trial (CST) and determining a defendant's mental state at the time of the offense (MSO).
Forensic psychology – study of the mind of an individual, using forensic methods. Usually it determines the circumstances behind a criminal's behavior.
Forensic seismology – study of techniques to distinguish the seismic signals generated by underground nuclear explosions from those generated by earthquakes.
Lip Forensics- identifying suspects(terrorists) by studying the macro-structure of lips, namely, upper vermillion border, oral fissure and lower vermillion border#
History of forensic science
Forensics in antiquity – ancient sources contain several accounts of techniques that foreshadow the concepts of forensic science that were made possible by the Scientific Revolution centuries later. Predating the scientific method, these techniques were not based on a scientific understanding of the world in the modern sense, but rather on common sense and practical experience.
History of autopsies – Autopsies that opened the body to determine the cause of death were attested at least in the early third millennium BC, although they were opposed in many ancient societies where it was believed that the outward disfigurement of dead persons prevented them from entering the afterlife.
History of dissection – During ancient times, investigators appeared to largely limit themselves to non-human animals. Roman law forbade dissection and autopsy of the human body, so physicians such as Galen were unable to work on cadavers. Galen for example dissected the Barbary macaque and other primates, assuming their anatomy was basically the same as that of humans.
Ballistic impact – high velocity impact by small mass simulation analogous to runway debris or small arms fire.
Calling card – particular object sometimes left behind by a criminal at a scene of a crime, often as a way of taunting police or obliquely claiming responsibility.
Fingerprint – an impression left by the friction ridges of a human finger. In a wider use of the term, fingerprints are the traces of an impression from the friction ridges of any part of a human or other primate hand.
Footprints – impressions or images left behind by a person walking. Shoes have many different prints based on the sole design and the wear that it has received - this can help to identify suspects.
Skid mark – mark a tire makes when a vehicle wheel stops rolling and slides or spins on the surface of the road. Skid marks are important for finding the maximum and minimum vehicle speed prior to the impact or incident.
Trace evidence – evidence that occurs when different objects contact one another. Such materials are often transferred by heat induced by contact friction.
Diplomatics – focuses on the analysis of document creation, its inner constitutions and form, the means of transmitting information, and the relationship documented facts have with their creator. These may be evidences of the intention of conveying information.
^Schafer, Elizabeth D. (2008). "Ancient science and forensics". In Ayn Embar-seddon, Allan D. Pass (eds.). Forensic Science. Salem Press. p. 43. ISBN978-1-58765-423-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link)
^P Prioreschi, Determinants of the revival of dissection of the human body in the Middle Ages', Medical Hypotheses (2001) 56(2), 229-234
^'Tragically, the prohibition of human dissection by Rome in 150 BC arrested this progress and few of their findings survived', Arthur Aufderheide, 'The Scientific Study of Mummies' (2003), page 5
^Vivian Nutton, 'The Unknown Galen', (2002), page 89