Forensic Science (often shortened to forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to the legal system. This may be in relation to a crime or to a civil action.
The word “forensic” comes from the Latin adjective “forensis” meaning of or before the forum. During the time of the Romans, a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals in the forum. Both the person accused of the crime and the accuser would give speeches based on their side of the story. The individual with the best argument and delivery would determine the outcome of the case. Basically, the person with the sharpest forensic skills would win. This origin is the source of the two modern usages of the word "forensic" - as a form of legal evidence and as a category of public presentation.
In modern use, the term "forensics" in place of "forensic science" can be considered incorrect as the term "forensic" is effectively a synonym for "legal" or "related to courts". However, the term is now so closely associated with the scientific field that many dictionaries include the meaning that equates the word "forensics" with "forensic science".
Forensic Scientists work as Forensic Toxicologists, Criminalists, Forensic Pathologists, and Death Investigators. To become a Forensic Scientist requires an advanced degree such as a Master of Science or Doctorate. With an Associates degree, one can become a Forensic Investigator and work as a Crime Scene Technician or Lab Assistant. There are several sub-fields within Forensics including Forensic Botany, Anthropology, Entomology, Odontology, and others.