Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jay A. Siegel
The word forensic means “public” in Latin and “forum” in French. Commonly, forensic scientists define their field as the application of the methods of the natural and physical sciences to matters of civil and criminal law. Forensic science can be involved not only in investigation and prosecution of crimes such as rape, murder, and drug dealing but also in matters where a crime has not been committed but in which someone is charged with a civil wrong, such as willful pollution of air or water or causing industrial injuries. Because of popular television programs such as Quincy, M.E ., many people equate forensic science with forensic pathology or forensic medicine. Clearly, forensic medicine is an important branch of forensic science, but it is only one of many areas of this field. Almost any science can be a forensic science because almost any science can contribute to solving a crime or ...