In one simple sentence, forensic science is the application of a number of sciences to find out information that is required by the law in the process of administering justice. The science of forensics is ultimately meant to bring a criminal to book and to deconstruct a crime scenario so that everything comes to light. Understandably, forensic science has to cover a lot of ground and the subdivisions of the subject are fairly broad.
Ballistics, toxicology, psychology, photography, odontology, epistemology, entomology, forensic engineering, forensic anthropology, forensic economics and forensic anthropology are a few of the disciplines that are used by the broad subject of forensic science.
History has it that the use of fingerprints to reveal identity was first used in the 7th century. It is a precursor of the modern-day finger-print check or retina-check. According to Soleiman, an Arabic merchant, this finger print check was used to safeguard commercial transactions. A debtor’s fingerprint was affixed on a bill and was kept by the lender. The bill was acknowledged as valid document that marked the debt.
The year was 1248 and the country was China. Song Ci, wrote the book ‘Xi Yuan Ji Lu’ which is still read as the ‘Collected cases of Injustice Rectified’. It was a book of its own stature. It dealt with the use of medicine and entomology for detecting criminal acts.
It has many fascinating accounts. One recounts the unraveling of a murder committed with the help of a sickle. The investigator told the people to bring their sickles to an open spot. The sickle that had blood on it attracted the flies. The same book speaks about how to distinguish between drowning and strangulation. A drowned person is going to have water in his or her lungs. Similarly, a person who is strangulated is sure to bear broken neck cartilage marks.
Sherlock Holmes, the immensely popular fictional character created by Arthur Conan Doyle, relies a lot on the forensic science to figure out, who has done it? Actually, Doyle based his hero on a real life flesh and blood character. Joseph Bell, the gifted surgeon at the University of Edinburgh had taught Doyle medicine. It was his traits that Doyle imbibed in the creation of his super detective.
The comic strip Dick Tracy also featured a popular detective, who used the science of forensic to bust crime.
The science of forensics has evolved a lot, since the days of its inception.
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