Definition of Forensic Science

The noun forensic, meaning “an argumentative exercise” derives from the adjective forensic, whose earliest meaning in English is “belonging to, used in, or suitable to courts or to public discussion and debate.” The English word was derived from a Latin word forensic meaning “of the market place or form, public,” which in turn comes from the Latin word forum, meaning “market place, forum.”

(Meriam Webster Dictionary :Forensic Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster)

Forensic science is the application of natural sciences to matters of the law. In practice, it draws upon physics, chemistry, biology, and other scientific principles and methods and is concerned with the recognition, identification, individualization, and evaluation of physical evidence. Forensic scientists present their findings as expert witnesses in the court of law.

(Midwest Forensics Resource Center at the U.S. Dept. of Energy)

The word “forensic” means “pertaining to the law;” forensic science resolves legal issues by applying scientific principles to them.

(Hall Dillon, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Forensic Science is the application of the methods and techniques of the basic sciences to legal issues. Crime Laboratory Scientists, sometimes called Forensic Scientists or, more properly, Criminalists, work with physical evidence collected at scenes of crimes.

(California Criminalistics Institute)

Forensic science is the scientific analysis and documentation of evidence suitable for legal proceedings. Many people have heard the term “forensics” used to describe school debate clubs. There is a similarity between these two forms of the word. In academic forensics, political or other issues are debated between two teams using a logical approach, and likewise in forensic science the debate (or comparison) is between the physical evidence and the known or suspected circumstances about an event.

Forensic scientists determine scientific facts from the evidence they evaluate and may testify as expert witnesses in civil or criminal courts or other legal proceedings. It is the responsibility of the lawyers, judges, and juries to prosecute, defend, and judge the guilt or innocence of an individual accused of wrongdoing. It is the responsibility of the forensic scientist to present the scientific facts in a fair, objective manner based on accepted scientific methods to facilitate the decision.

(Hamilton County Forensic Center)