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Forensic Science is a broad field that involves many different aspects of science. Forensic scientists may be specialists in a wide variety of areas including biology, chemistry, firearms, pharmacology, and toxicology. In general, forensic scientists investigate crime, fire, accident, and explosion scenes while looking for evidence that may explain the cause and people involved. Forensic scientists also inspect currency, passports, and other important documents for fraud and can identify suspects of a crime using DNA.
A forensic scientist with a degree in chemistry would most likely specialize in examining unknown substances such as paint, fire debris, clothing fibers, glass, and soil. They would analyze the unknown substance's chemical and physical properties or compare it to a known substance to determine exactly what it was. A forensic scientist specializing in chemistry may also determine the blood alcohol level by identifying the chemical compounds in blood and determining the ratio of alcohol to blood. Forensic chemists work closely with others specializing in toxicology and firearms to determine drugs and poison found in bodies and to identify gunshot residue found on suspects. Specialists in firearms may also at guns to determine if they have been fired recently and estimate the distance between a gunshot victim and the firearm when the trigger was pulled. Forensic chemists may also specialize in identifying counterfeit documents. They may compare authentic and questionable currency, passports, cheques, and other important documents to determine a fraud. They many do this by comparing physical things such as handwriting or they may use chemical means to determine the kinds of paper or ink used in the production of the documents.
A forensic scientist specializing in biology would generally concentrate on analyzing DNA in hair, blood, and other body fluids. They may also compare hair samples and may even use some chemistry to determine wavrious organic substances such as plant matter. DNA analysis may provide crucial evidence in court cases and can identify or eliminate suspects of a crime.
A forensic scientist specializing in any one field is not confined to tasks only involving this subject, but they will probably focus their work on whatever they specialize in. Most forensic scientists will work in a variety of different scenarios and will do many things. Most, at some point in their career, will work closely with the police and may even have to give evidence in court cases or testify giving their opinion of what probably happened. They are the key to being able to determine the answers to the questions who, what where, when, why, and how, which would otherwise remain unanswered and unproven in many criminal investigations.