In simple terms forensic science can be put across as a study and application of science to matters of law. The intersection of science and law provides new tools and methodologies for discovering truth. Forensic law also includes the business of providing accurate, timely, and thorough information to all levels of decision makers in our criminal justice system. The word “forensic” is derived from the Latin word “forensis” which means forum, a public place where, in Roman times, senators and others debated and held judicial proceedings.
Forensic science is a multidisciplinary subject used for probing crime scenes and gathering evidence to be used in prosecution of offenders in a court of law. Forensic science techniques are also used to examine compliance with international agreements regarding weapons of mass destruction. The main areas used in forensic science are biology, chemistry, and medicine, although the science also includes the use of physics, computer science, geology, and psychology. Forensic scientists examine objects, substances (including blood or drug samples), chemicals (paints, explosives, toxins), tissue traces (hair, skin), or impressions (fingerprints or tidemarks) left at the crime scene.
Forensic science has undergone dramatic progress in recent years, including in the area of DNA collection and analysis and the reconstruction of crime scenes. However, only a very few professionals are equipped with the knowledge necessary to fully apply the potential of science in civil, criminal, and family legal matters.