The aim of this book is to present a novel way of teaching forensic science and, more importantly, a different way of presenting any science discipline whether it be chemistry, physics, or biology.
Most science textbooks today are formatted and presented in a compartmentalized manner; students are likely to encounter a chapter entitled “Cell Structure and Function” in a biology textbook, or “States of Matter” in a chemistry textbook, or “Newton’s First Law of Motion-Inertia” in a physics textbook, or “Blood Spatter” in a forensic textbook. These compartmentalized units present an extensive list of vocabulary words as well as scientific principles and concepts to be mastered. The student takes notes, conducts lab experiments and, at the conclusion of the unit, is evaluated by some form of written assessment. This cycle repeats itself with the next chapter until the course is completed at the end of the academic year. This format often lacks the connections learned in prior chapters to the current chapter under study. Science, on the other hand, is about making connections.
The disconnect that commonly exists between science textbooks, science courses and the way real science operates will be addressed in this manuscript. Science works with a problem or an observation which requires an integrated approach involving many different disciplines of science coming together and the connections that these disciplines can provide to help solve a problem or explain an observation.
This book attempts to capture the student’s interest by means of a unique format. It begins with a story about two characters who go about solving a missing persons case. It reads like a murder mystery novel, with each succeeding chapter revealing new characters, new information, and new physical evidence to be processed. Following the storyline, the reader is introduced to the appropriate science necessary to process the physical evidence. The final component of each chapter consists of a series of lab activities that train the student in processing, analyzing, and documenting the physical evidence revealed in the narrative.
The final chapter takes all of the evidence and presents it in a mock trial setting where information is presented in a court of law and the jury decides the fate of the suspect.
We hope that by reading this book you will gain a better appreciation of how science operates in the real world and the important role it plays in our lives. Having gone through this experience, some of the readers may even entertain the idea of pursuing a career in forensic science or the legal system. Enjoy the journey upon which you are about to embark.