1st Edition

Introduction to Forensic Science The Science of Criminalistics

By James T. Spencer Copyright 2024
    1056 Pages 1033 Color & 98 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Introduction to Forensic Science: The Science of Criminalistics is a new textbook that takes a unique and holistic approach to forensic science. The book focuses on exploring the underlying scientific concepts as presented at the introductory college and senior high school levels. Chapters introduce readers to each of the important areas of forensic science, grouping chapters together by discipline and following a logical progression and flow between chapters. This systematically allows students to understand the fundamental scientific concepts, recognize their various application to the law and investigations, and discern how each topic fits broadly within the context of forensic science.

    The writing is accessible throughout, maintaining students' interest—including both science and non-science majors—while inspiring them to learn more about the field. Concepts are demonstrated with numerous case studies and full-color illustrations that serve to emphasize the important ideas and issues related to a particular topic. The approach underscores scientific understanding, allowing the student to go beyond simple rote learning to develop deeper insights into the field, regardless of their scientific background. The book has been extensively classroom tested to provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date survey of various forensic disciplines and the current state of the science, policies, and best practices.

    Key Features:

    • Presents takes a wholly new, fresh approach to addressing a broad survey of analytical techniques and evidentiary analysis in the field forensic science
    • All concepts—and the underpinnings of forensic practice—are explained in simple terms, using understandable analogies and illustrations to further clarify concepts
    • Introduces topics that other introductory texts fail to address including serology, behavioral science, forensic medicine and anthropology, forensic ecology, palynology, zoology, video analysis, AI/computer forensics, and forensic engineering, among others
    • Highly illustrated with over 900 full-color photographs, diagrams, and illustrations to further highlight key concepts
    • Suitable for both high school senior-level instruction as well as 2- and 4-year  university courses for majors, non-majors, and criminal justice students enrolled in introductory forensic science classes

    Support Materials, including an Instructor’s Manual with Test Bank and chapter PowerPointTM lecture slides, are available to professors with qualified course adoption.

    Part 1: Introduction

    1. Introduction to Forensic Science: Introduction, Historic Development, and Legal Roles of Forensic Science

    2. Crime Scene Investigations and the 4th Amendment

    3. Science, Pseudoscience and the Law

    Part 2: Biological Evidence

    4. Methods for Examining Biological Evidence

    5. Forensic DNA

    6. Forensic Serology

    7. Anatomical Evidence: The Outside Story

    8. Forensic Medicine: The Inside Story

    9. Forensic Anthropology

    10. Forensic Ecology

    Part 3: Chemical Evidence

    11. Overview of Chemical Evidence

    12. Forensic Spectroscopy

    13. Forensic Toxicology

    14. Forensic Fire and Explosives

    Part 4: Physical Properties in Evidence

    15. Physical Properties: Mineralogical, Soil, Glass, and Paint Analysis

    16. Firearms, Ballistics, and Impression Evidence

    17. Forensic Document Analysis, Photographic and Video Analysis, and Voice Identification and Linguistics

    18. Forensic Engineering and Computer Science

    Part 5: Behavioural Forensic Evidence

    19. Behavioral Forensic Sciences


    James T. Spencer is a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Distinguished Teaching Professor, a Fellow of the Syracuse University Center of Excellence, and Founding Executive Director of the Syracuse University Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute (FNSSI) at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, USA. Dr. Spencer has research interests in Inorganic chemistry; organometallic chemistry; materials chemistry and solid state science; new sensor development, renewable energy systems (photovoltaic), forensic science and has taught various courses over the years including courses—most recently—on chemistry in the modern world, general chemistry, organometallic chemistry, forensic science and advanced forensic science, and scientific and career resources in forensic science. Dr. Spencer holds a BA in Chemistry, and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from SUNY Potsdam and has been published widely in many professional and society journals.