Fundamentals of Forensic Science


  • Max Houck, Vice President, Forensic and Intelligence Services, LLC
  • Jay Siegel, Director, Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Fundamentals of Forensic Science, Second Edition, provides an introduction to the basic principles of forensic science. The book begins at a crime scene and ends in the courtroom. The book is divided into six parts. Part 1 provides an overview of criminal justice and forensic science, covering the basics of crime scene investigation and the nature of evidence. Part 2 discusses analytical tools, including microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, atomic spectroscopy, and separation methods. Parts 3 to 5 discuss the various types of forensic evidence collected, categorized by the types of science employed in their analysis: physical science, chemical science, and biological science. These include pathology; anthropology and odontology; entomology; serology and bloodstain pattern analysis; DNA analysis; forensic hair examinations; forensic toxicology; fiber and paint analysis; friction ridge examination; and firearms and tool marks. Part 6 discusses the legal aspects of forensic science. The book is written for students with a background in basic science, and it is can be used in a one-semester or two-semester format.
View full description


Book information

  • Published: January 2010
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-374989-5


"[A] complete look at the core disciplines, emphasizing biology, chemistry, and physical sciences that underpin forensic science. For example, a chapter on "Forensic Hair Examinations" begins by explaining how hair grows and its microanatomy, before moving on to discuss how to differentiate between human and non-human hair, how to estimate the ethnicity or ancestry of an individual from hair, and the process of comparing a known hair sample to a questioned hair. It is written and organized in a logical and practical manner that engages the reader to learn more."--Evidence Technology Magazine

Table of Contents



Preface to the Second Edition

Preface to the First Edition

I. Criminal Justice and Forensic Science

1. Introduction

2. Crime Scene Investigation

3. The Nature of Evidence

II. Analytical Tools

4. Microscopy

5. Light and Matter

6. Separation Methods

III. Biological Sciences

7. Pathology

8. Anthropology and Odontology

9. Entomology

10. Serology and Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

11. DNA Analysis

12. Forensic Hair Examinations

IV. Chemical Sciences

13. Illicit Drugs

14. Forensic Toxicology

15. Textile Fibers

16. Paint Analysis

17. Soil and Glass

18. Fires and Explosions

V. Physical Sciences

19. Friction Ridge Examination

20. Questioned Documents

21. Firearms and Tool Marks

22. Impression Evidence

VI. Law and Forensic Science

23. Legal Aspects of Forensic Science