Crime has always been a part of society, and in order to preserve peace and discipline, police officials have always tried to incorporate new methods into their old system, and the methods they employed are known as forensic science.
Forensic science is a science which uses scientific methods and techniques to prove the facts, origin from Latin word forensis means belonging to courts. The term ‘Forensic’ officially included in merriam-webster dictionary in 1659.
Archimedes, who is known for his discovery of word “Eureka” and Archimedes principle, was the first to apply his scientific expertise to show that the golden crown was forged. Following Archimedes, we learn of another early forensic science use by Soleiman, a 7th-century Arabic trader. He employed fingerprints to prove the legitimacy of debtors and lenders.
The Chinese adopted the fingerprint notion in the 700s as well. Quintilian, a Roman prosecutor in the 1000s, employed a procedure similar to this to solve crimes. The Washing Away of Wrongs (also known as the Collected Cases of Injustice Rectified, or Hsi yuan chi lu), published in 1247 CE, is the oldest documented forensic medicine literature.
In 16th century Ambrose Pare, Fortunato Fidelis and Paolo Zacchia used their medical expertise to know the cause of death. Some notable research and innovations also had done, such as; Traité de médecine légale et d’hygiène publique ou de police de santé (1813) was a standard work on legal medicine by French physician Fodéré’s. German doctor Johann Peter Franck’s “The Complete System of Police Medicine,” as well as France’s François Demelle’s initial research on systematic document analysis and fingerprint technology which was established by Marcello Malpighi.
In 1784 John Toms was found guilty of murder in Lancaster, England, when the ripped edge of a wad of newspaper in a pistol matched a piece in his pocket. One of the first known uses of physical comparison occurred in this case.
In 1835, Henry Goddard (British police force), used the method of bullet comparison to solve an active murder investigation. Alphonse Bertillon developed Bertillonage system to identify criminals measuring different body parts in 1879.
Finally, in the nineteenth century, law enforcement officers began to think outside the box when it came to regular methods of identifying criminals, and in 1880, Henry Faulds and Francis Galton gave fingerprints a new definition. Galton gathered fingerprints and released a book “Fingerprints” in 1892 which was first of its type. Scholars such as Thomas Bewick, Mathiew Orfila, and John Evangelist Purkinji created history in forensic science.
Who can forget Arthur Conan Doyle, known as the “Pioneer of Forensic Science” for his incredible work as Sherlock Holmes? He identified a few really good techniques that were not in widespread usage at the time. He made the field of forensic science renowned.
However, many cases remained unsolved due to a lack of scientific methods, and when Watson and Crick discovered the unique structure of DNA, it raised hopes. Laboratories began using it for paternity tests in the 1980s. Alec Jeffreys was the first to use DNA to catch a murderer in 1986, and he was successful. Since then, DNA has been used to solve cold cases as well.
Bernard Spilsbury has made significant contributions to forensic science. He worked as a forensic pathologist and was the first to train police officers how to analyse crime scenes and collect evidence. He also created a bag of essential tools for forensic pathologists to bring with them when they visit to crime scene. He testified in some of the most discussed cases throughout the years, including the Crippen case, the Brides in the Bath murders, and others.
In 1910, Locard established the first criminal investigation laboratory, where he could evaluate evidence from crime scenes. Locard produced a number of books throughout his career, the most notable of which is his seven-volume Traité de Criminalistique (Treaty of Criminalistics). Locard is regarded as a pioneer in the fields of forensic science and criminology. He invented a number of forensic analytical techniques that are still in use today.
By establishing Metropolitan Forensic Sciences Laboratory at Scotland Yard in 1935, the FBI organised a nationwide lab that supplied forensic services to all law enforcement agencies in the United States.
Modern forensic science has several uses. Modern forensic technology is revolutionising investigations when it comes to solving crimes. Cases may now be solved faster and more accurately than ever before because to advances in forensic scientific technologies. It’s used in criminal cases like assault, robbery, kidnapping, rape, or murder, as well as civil cases like forgeries, fraud, or negligence. It can help law enforcement agents figure out if any rules or regulations controlling the marketing of foods and drinks, the manufacturing of drugs, or the use of pesticides on crops have been violated or if the food has adulterant. The applications of forensics have no limits when it comes to detecting or suspecting something. It ranges from detecting alcohol poisoning to detecting drug abuse in sports. It’s used to see if countries are complying with international treaties like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, as well as to see if they’re developing a covert nuclear weapons programme and if it’s within their borders. The expansion extends to the digital world as well.
Authored By: Archana Singh (Admin & Editor)