Plugging Holes in the Science of Forensics

This NY Times article discusses the recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that found “serious problems” with many of the forensic ‘sciences’ practiced in crime labs today. Most of these problems are of the mathematical variety: with the exception of DNA evidence, much of the type of research done on the forensic sciences is geared towards finding information at the crime scene, and not geared towards statistically checking how valid and reliable these finds really are in identifying the perpetrator. A foretaste of this came a few years back, when the forensic science of bullet lead analysis (first used to convict Lee Harvey Oswald of the murder of John F. Kennedy) was abandoned by the FBI after an NAS report found it lacking as well.

The article goes on to describe the efforts of various scientists to “refine [the] mathematical tools” being used to put the other forensic sciences on the same level as DNA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *