Introduction to Forensic Science

"Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value."

- - The late chemist Paul L. KirkfromCrime Investigation, 2nd Edition, J.J. Thornton, ed., 1974, p.2.  This quote was inspired by Professor Edmond Locard, thefather of Locard's Exchange Principle.

Forensics is a field of science dedicated to the methodical gathering and analysis of evidence to establish facts that can be presented in a legal proceeding. Though crime scenes and laboratories are perhaps, most often associated with forensics, there is also computer or network forensics, forensic accounting, forensic engineering and forensic psychiatry, among other specialized fields that are today an integral part of forensics.Forensic science is the practical application of science to matters of the law. In criminal law, forensics science can help prove the guilt or innocence of the defendant. In civil actions, forensics can help resolve a broad spectrum of legal issues through the identification, analysis and evaluation of physical evidence. Forensic science draws upon a variety of scientific principles, including biology, physics and chemistry. The field of forensic science covers:  Document examination; DNA analysis; Electronic/digital media; Fingerprinting; Autopsy techniques; Forensic engineering; Linguistics; Forensic anthropology; Pathology; Economics; Accounting; Biology; Entomology; Toxicology and much more.

Philosophy:  This course is designed to be an overview course in Forensic Science for high school students.

Expectations:  Students are expected to come to class prepared to learn, with all assignments completed, and ready to participate in class.  Students are expected to spend time in classroom and at home reading, studying, and completing training labs, application labs and homework assignments.

Course Description:  This course is designed to give students an over view of Forensic science and to see how crime scenes are investigated.  The laboratory portion of the course is designed to give students a hands-on experience to reinforce lecture material.

Course Objectives:

  1. Students will gain valuable and accurate information about biology, biomed, and forensic science concepts and issues. 
  2. Students will develop scientific reasoning and process skills.
  3. Students will work in teams and independently and be able to evaluate his/her progress.
  4. To help prepare students for the demands of higher education.