October 02, 2018 Also in this Issue

Forensic Science : A Forensic Scientist’s Perspective

By David San Pietro, PhD and Brooke W. Kammrath, PhD

What is forensic science? Often, we define our field as “the natural sciences applied to matters of the law,” but it is more than this. At its foundation, there are several concepts that distinguish it from other scientific areas, thus making forensic science more than simply an amalgam of the established sciences (e.g., chemistry, biology, physics). Forensic science has a rich history, with many people contributing to its status as its own scientific discipline. These defining concepts include Paul Kirk’s principle of individualization as well as Edmond Locard’s exchange principle (“every contact leaves a trace”). Since the early days of the field’s development, forensic scientists were responsible for not only interfacing with items of evidence on a chemical and physical level, but also with all aspects of physical evidence from initial recognition at the scene through its analysis and interpretation of significance. Unfortunately, we have deviated from this model and narrowed the scope of our activities.

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