Making the next generation better: Emphasizing the "Chemistry" in forensic chemistry


Suzanne Bell

Author Affiliation: 

West Virginia University





Forensic chemistry is an ideal place to encourage forensic science to become more rigorous, objective, and quantitative as a profession. A reasonable definition of forensic chemistry emphasizes the application of analytical chemistry to problems of forensic and legal concern. Accordingly, forensic chemistry must be a rigorous measurement science. A strong, relevant, and competitive forensic chemistry education integrates metrology, quality assurance, analytical thinking, and extensive quantitative skills. This presentation will discuss the evolution of a forensic chemistry course and curriculum, lessons learned along the way, and student outcomes as seen by the students as well as by their current employers. The discussion will cover undergraduate through post-doctoral education. Suggestions will be offered for encouraging students pursuing careers in forensic chemistry to think first as chemists and measurement scientists. If they do, the forensic part will take care of itself.