For various reasons, forensic science is becoming a very popular topic, although few people seem to have a concrete idea about this branch of science. Probably the main reason for the popularity of forensic science is the success that some television programs have enjoyed in recent years. CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) is by far the best example, where teams made up of young fashion investigators skillfully manage to solve the most complicated criminal cases whose preliminary evidence often leads to unpredictable results.
However, the reality of the forensic world is often a far cry from what is depicted in television series. Current forensic investigations involve multiple groups of people, each specializing in a different area of expertise, rather than a small group where members perform very different tests and methods.
Leaving Hollywood aside, let’s take a look at the main areas competing with forensic experts.
Forensic anthropology: These experts search, retrieve and analyze human remains with the aim of establishing the identity of unknown individuals. They can deal with remains such as skeletons or decomposed, mummified, burned or unrecognizable bodies to consult parameters such as age of death, sex, height (height), ancestry or pathology. Other estimates are also made, such as time elapsed since death and mode of death. They are involved in criminal cases, but also when the deaths occurred by accident, suicide, or even massive disasters or human rights violations (i.e. genocide).
Forensic pathology: These are also known as medical examiners. They usually carry out autopsies on corpses to establish the cause of death and identity, or to confirm it if it is not yet known. Autopsies are performed when the death was sudden or unexpected, as is the case with accidents, homicides, suicides, or other tragedies.
Forensic Dentistry or Forensic Dentistry – They specialize in using dental evidence to establish identity. Teething remnants are often useful in cases of mass disasters or when multiple deaths occurred. Dental surgeons also analyze bite marks for dental features that can lead to a match between a wound and the suspect’s dental characteristics, such as alignment and tooth shape.
Forensic nurses are involved in recognizing cases of child physical or sexual abuse, or cases where adult domestic violence, rape is suspected. They usually work in emergency situations in a hospital
Forensic Chemistry and its related field Forensic Toxicology deal with the analysis of chemicals such as drugs and poisons that can occur in body fluids or at crime scenes. Such studies can help to find out the cause of death in the murder, identify chemicals used in explosives, or use them to start or speed up a fire. Other elements of interest to this field include fingerprints, soil, dust, fibers, glass, and hair.
DNA Analysis and Molecular Biology are becoming popular topics in forensic science. The main objective of this field is DNA analysis for human identification purposes
Forensic analysis is a large and growing field of the professional sphere related to the law and involves other aspects that I will address in other articles. Keep in mind that whatever branch you choose to adopt, becoming a forensic scientist requires a total commitment to ethics and a lifetime dedication. Just remember that working in forensic medicine is not just a hot position, but a job that has the responsibility to impart justice and the freedom of the innocent and the ability of the law to punish the guilty are at stake.