Archeologists in Real time - Forensic Science's Coming of Age

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - 10:41am

Forensic science has become an increasingly vital part of solving crimes and life’s mysteries. The tools used by forensic investigators are not only capable of providing clear cut evidence of a criminal’s guilt in active cases today, but for those that have occurred in the past.

Using aspects of mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer science and law, forensic scientists are able to put together the pieces of a puzzle. Over and over again. This has made it possible to solve many mysteries with much greater accuracy than has ever been experienced before, making forensic science one of the most heavily relied on disciplines for discovering the truth.

How Forensic Science Helps Solve Mysteries
Forensic scientists analyze physical evidence to help them learn what may have happened during past events, or who may have been involved in the events.

They may examine the evidence left behind at a crime scene or on the body of a victim and compare it to evidence found on a suspect. For example, forensic scientists are able to take castings of a shoe print left in the dirt outside a home where a crime took place, and use that to find out details about the shoe that can help police narrow down suspects. They are also able to discover facts, such as the way a car was parked, how it pulled away and the direction it drove off.

Forensic science has also been used to solve historical mysteries. For instance, Columbia State Community College reported how a forensic anthropologist, Dr. Doug Owsley, and his team were responsible for discovering the identities of Civil War soldiers found in a submarine called the Huntley.

The analysis of DNA has also helped forensic experts rule out claims people have made to be specific people in history. According to George Washington University, in the case of a 10-year old boy who went missing in 1795, Louis Charles, the Dauphin of France, many people had come forward stating that they were the missing boy.

Although experts still don’t know what actually happened to Louis Charles, they were able to rule out one of the more well known claimants, Wilhelm Naundorff who had convinced some important people at the time that he was the Dauphin. DNA testing conducted in 1998 proved that this was false. These are just a few of the ways forensic science is used to solve mysteries.

Forensic Science Masters Degree Program Needed
To become a forensic scientist, a person must earn at least a bachelor’s degree, though an advanced degree is preferred for certain positions, particularly administrative ones.

A forensic science masters degree program can help prepare students for various roles in the field, equipping them with the skills and knowledge required to solve some of the toughest crimes and mysteries. Courses in subjects such as pharmacology, biology, statistics and physics are required to earn a degree; many who are involved in advanced studies choose to specialize in certain subfields of forensics, like firearms or anthropology.  

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