Forensic scientists apply scientific procedures and techniques to the examination of potential evidence that may assist in legal investigations.
Duties & Tasks
Forensic scientists may perform the following tasks:identify illicit drugsanalyse drugs and poisons in human tissue and body fluids, including blood alcohol resultsexamine and compare materials such as fibres, paints, cosmetics, oils, fuels, plastics, glass, metals, soils and gunshot residuesexamine human and animal biological material to be compared with victims and suspects using DNA profilingconduct botanical identification of plant materials at trace levels and whole-plant identification (cannabis, for example)conduct document examinations, both physical (such as handwriting and typewriting) and chemical (such as analysis of inks and papers)analyse computers and obtain data from other electronic devices such as mobile phonesexamine crime scenesidentify firearms and ammunition (forensic ballistics)detect, enhance, recover and identify latent fingerprints, footprints, tool marks, shoe marks, tyre marks and tracksexamine fire and explosion scenes to establish the origin and causeimprove the clarity of, and analyse, audio and video recordingsproduce reports, appear in court and present scientific and/or opinion testimony accurately and in a manner that is readily understood by the courtmake presentations to a variety of audiences on the work of forensic scientistskeep in contact with, and provide advice to, police investigators, legal practitioners, scientists and pathologists across a broad range of disciplines.
A wide range of expertise is required for forensic investigations. A forensic scientist may specialise in chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, pharmacology, toxicology, crime scene examination, firearms examination, fingerprint or document examination.
- good communication skills able to remain unbiased in the examination of potential court evidence meticulous and capable of clear, logical and lateral thinking able to work as part of a team initiative and motivation able to persevere good observation skills.