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Fundamentals of Forensic Science - 2nd Edition - ISBN: 9780123749895, 9780080961651

Fundamentals of Forensic Science

2nd Edition

Authors: Max Houck Jay Siegel
Hardcover ISBN: 9780123749895
eBook ISBN: 9780080961651
eBook ISBN: 9780123859143
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 30th November 2009
Page Count: 680
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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.

Key Features

  • Vivid, full-color illustrations that diagram key concepts and depict evidence encountered in the field
  • Straightforward unit organization that includes key terms, numerous feature boxes emphasizing Internet resources, historical events in forensic science, practical issues in laboratory analysis, and topics for further reading
  • Effective pedagogy, including end-of-chapter questions, paired with a clear writing style makes this an invaluable resource for professors and students of forensic science


Students in forensic science, professionals in the various forensic disciplines - fire, chemistry, crime scene, trace evidence, law enforcement personnel, lawyers and defense attorneys.

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




No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2010
30th November 2009
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Max Houck

Dr. Max M. Houck is an internationally-recognized forensic expert with research interests in forensic science, education, and the forensic enterprise and its industries. He has worked in all aspects of forensic science, including at the FBI Laboratory. Dr. Houck has published widely in books and peer-reviewed journals. His anthropology and trace evidence casework includes the Branch Davidian Investigation, the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon, the D.B. Cooper case, the US Embassy bombings in Africa, and the West Memphis Three case, among hundreds of others. He served for six years as the Chair of the Forensic Science Educational Program Accreditation Commission (FEPAC). Dr. Houck is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a founding Co-Editor of the journal Forensic Science Policy and Management.

Affiliations and Expertise

Vice President, Forensic and Intelligence Services, LLC

Jay Siegel

Jay Siegel

Jay Siegel, PhD is retired Director of the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. He was Director of the Forensic Science Program at Michigan State University for 25 years from 1980-2004 until his retirement as Professor Emeritus. Dr. Siegel is a Distinguished Member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and was named as Distinguished Alumni Scholar by his alma mater, George Washington University in 2011. He is co-editor of Forensic Science Policy and Management: An International Journal. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Forensic Science Committee from 2006-09.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director, Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program, Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis, IN, USA


"[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

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