scientist does not get involved in this aspect of the investigation. Figure 1illustrates the role that each of these individuals plays in an investigation. Although the service provided by the forensic scientist is central to thesolving of many crimes, it is not usually required for crimes like speeding orshoplifting. In fact, most crimes do not require a forensic analysis of physicalevidence. Physical evidence present at a crime scene may not even be col-lected; and if it is collected, it may not be analyzed. The decision to collect andsubsequently analyze physical evidence depends on the seriousness of thecrime, police department protocol, the state of the investigation, laboratory capabilities, and crime scene resources. A large number of forensic scientists are chemists. Forensic chemists em-ploy their knowledge of chemistry to analyze evidence such as ﬁbers, paint, ex-plosives, charred debris, drugs, glass, soil, documents, tool marks, andﬁrearms. To a lesser extent, forensic chemists also use their knowledge for tox-icology (the study of poisons and their effects), ﬁngerprints, footwear impres-sions, tire impressions, and hair analyses. Although many forensic analyses re-quire the expertise of a chemist, chemistry is not the only discipline that contributes to the extremely vast and truly interdisciplinary ﬁeld of forensicscience. Other disciplines and professions contributing to the ﬁeld includeengineering, computer science, entomology, anthropology, pathology,physics, nursing, and psychology, among many others. Virtually any discipline,profession, or trade that has an expertise that can aid in the solving of crimes will fall under the umbrella of forensic science. This chapter will focus onsome of the many applications of chemistry in forensic science.
The Forensic Generalist and Specialist
wouldanalyzealltypesofphysicalevidence.Theirfamiliaritywithmanyforensicanalysistechniqueswasextremelydiverse,andtheirabilitytocarryoutanygivenanalysiswaslimitedonlybytheirknowledgeandre-sources.Theforensicgeneralistservedtheroleofafamilydoctorintheﬁeldofforensicscience—whateverwasneededtobeanalyzed,thegeneralist couldhelp.Today,however,forensicgeneralistsareslowlybeingreplacedby forensicspecialistsduetotheever-increasingcomplexityoftheﬁeldof forensicscience.
dedicate the majority of their efforts to becoming ex-perts in only one or a few branches of forensic science. Forensic chemistry, forexample, is now a specialized ﬁeld of forensic science. The forensic chemist does not typically analyze biological evidence or carry out DNA analyses.These analyses are typically performed by a forensic biologist. Many argue that forensic specialization is appropriate and necessary due to the vast scope of forensic science and the diversity in analysis techniques. As is true with allother sciences, forensic science continues to evolve and develop. With such a vast body of knowledge, it is inconceivable that a single person could becomean expert in all areas of science, and it is equally inconceivable that a personcould become an expert in all areas of forensic science.Specialization is not unique to forensic science and has become common-place in the medical profession. When children are sick, we take them to a pe-diatrician; when we have an ear infection, we see an ear, nose, and throat doctor; and when we need a heart operation, we see a heart surgeon. With the wide variety of evidence that may be analyzed by the forensic chemist, subspe-cialization is also quite common. It is not unusual for a forensic chemist to begiven a subtitle such as ﬁrearms analyst, trace evidence analyst, ﬁngerprint
1 Introduction to Forensic Science
Collection of physical evidenceby police officers or crimescene investigatorsAnalysis of physical evidenceby forensic scientistsInterpretation of all evidenceby detective or attorneyPresentation of evidence incourt (often involving theforensic scientist)
Involvement of variousindividuals in an investigation.Chemistry is used in the analysis of explosives like dynamite.
C h a r l e s D . W i n t e r s
A forensic scientistfamiliar with most areas of forensic sci-ence and capable of analyzing mostitems of physical evidence, but not nec-essarily considered an expert in any area
A forensic scientistthat has become an expert in one or a
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of forensic science.few branches of forensic science.