Forensic science has become a hot subject due to US television shows such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Law and Order. Forensics university courses have proliferated as students flock to this glamorous and exciting scientific discipline. The reality may be more mundane, but forensic scientists do invaluable work linking evidence from crime scenes - such as fingerprints, injuries, weapons, DNA, computer data, drugs and counterfeit goods - to criminals themselves.
Forensic scientists also help solve crimes by reconstructing faces from skulls, and sometimes animating or virtually ageing them, or studying corpses to pinpoint the cause and time of death. Criminals almost always leave evidence at crime scenes, or unwittingly collected it. Our ability to detect this evidence is continually improving, and many court cases rely it. It is presented to juries and judges by expert witnesses and helps solve crimes from fraud and forgery to assault, rape, murder and terrorism. Forensics can even help uncover secret nuclear weapons programs, smuggled plutonium and thwart trafficking of drugs and endangered species.