The Forensic Science Formula

Programs such as CSI, CSI Miami etc are very popular and thoroughly entertaining but they have created what is know in academic and professional circles as the 'CSI effect' i.e. the perception of the near-infallibility of forensic science.

Given that this perception is wide of the mark, we thought it would be useful to investigate the essence of forensic science. What do those working in the field consider the main attributes of forensic science to be? How much importance do they give to these attributes? Do these attributes vary across different forensic science disciplines? What do those studying or thinking about studying forensic science think? What do the public think?

We appreciate that there are no right or wrong answers but we thought it would very useful and interesting to see if any themes develop.


Name: Sawan Patel

Job: Forensic Science Masters Student

From: Gujrat, India

Main Forensic Interests: computer forensics & cyber crime

Forensic-Science Formula:

"90% brain, 10% luck."

Name: Makayla

Job: Toxicologist

From: Chicago, USA

Main Forensic Interests: Drugs, Toxics, Chemicals

Forensic Science Formula:

"Whatever the suspects touches, or leaves behind serves as a silent witness, for him to be prosecuted."

Name: Sarah Lee

Job: Crime Scene Analyst

From: Malaysia

Main Forensic Interests: DNA, crime scene investigation

Forensic Science Formula:

"Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value."

(Paul L. Kirk. 1953. Crime investigation: physical evidence and the police laboratory. Interscience Publishers, Inc. New York)

Name: Neelam

Job: Student

From: India

Main Forensic Interests: Everything except dead body analysis.

Forensic-Science Formula:

"Knowledge, presence of mind, concentration, team work and most important passion."

Name: Naomi

Job: Student

From: USA

Main Forensic Interests: Everything

Forensic Science Formula:

"Evidence never lies."

Name: Joe

Job: Student

From: Ireland

Main Forensic Interests: Ballistic/Explosives

Forensic Science Formula:

50% - Good Scientific Practice

50% - Integrity

"Integrity is just as important as the science because without it the science is worthless. Look at 'scientists' on both sides of any major debate, some will distort the science to prove themselves right rather than to determine what is right."

Name: Ali Raza

Job: Forensic Science Student

From: India

Main Forensic Interests: Document Examination and Fingerprints

Forensic-Science Formula:

30% - Common Sense

50% - Skill/Knowledge

20% - Determination & Patience

"Forensics starts where science ends."

Name: Jazz

Job: Student

From: Malaysia

Main Forensic Interests: DNA fingerprinting

Forensic Science Formula:

40% - Interest/Passion

30% - Skill/Knowledge

15% - Thinking

10% - Finding Truth

5% - Satisfaction

Name: Laura

Job: Liberal Arts Math and Science student interested in forensic science and the criminal justice field.

From: Nassau County, NY, USA

Main Forensic Interests: Forensic Anthropology, DNA Analysis, Blood Splatter Analysis, Evidence Analysis, Crime Scene Investigation, Desire to Become An Expert Witness, Anything Science and Law

Forensic Science Formula:

30%- Skill/Education/Tools

25%- Passion/Reason/Will To Find Truth

15%- Interest/Achievements/Self-Satisfactory

10%- Justice/Proving The Criminals Guilty/ Setting Free the Innocent

10%- Accomplishment of Advancement in the Field

10%- Pain

100%- Remember the Victims

Name: Altrisha Robinson

From: Turks and Caicos Islands

Job: Currently studying forensics online

Main Forensic Interests: Forensic Entomology

Forensic Science Formula:

20% compassion

20% teamwork

30% skill

50% stupidity of criminals who help convict themselves more than they know

100% satisfaction of seeing the bad guys get what they deserve

Name: Shashi Kumar

From: Tirunelveli

Job: Student of criminology

Main Forensic Interests: Finger prints

Forensic-Science Formula:

20% Skill

15% Analyse

25% Finding truth

10% Understanding

15% Thinking

15% Interest

Name: Victor Manso

Job: Forensic Science student planning to work with the Santa Rosa P.D.

From: New York, USA

Main Forensic Interests: Forensic Geology

Forensic Science Formula:

15% Understanding

20% Interest

20% Skills

30% Will Find Truth

15% Satisfaction

Name: Ruchishree

Job: BSc Student

From: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Main Forensic Interests: Want to go into forensic science.

Forensic Science Formula:

10% Understanding

25% Interest

20% Tools

10% Skills

30% Will Find Truth

5% Satisfaction

Name: Hui Seong

Job: Technical Support Engineer for Forensic Equipment

From: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Main Forensic Interests: Forensic Document Examination

Forensic Science Formula:

15% Understanding in question document examination

20% Interest

15% Knowledge/skill

40% Tools/equipment

5% The will to find truth

5% Self satisfactory

Forensic Nurse Examiner From New Jersey

Main Forensic Interests: Sexual assault and death investigation

Forensic Science Formula:

10% compassion

15% teamwork

25% skill

50% stupidity of criminals who help convict themselves more than they know

100% satisfaction of seeing the bad guys get what they deserve

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