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Physical Science Careers

Describes some careers in the physical sciences and the preparation needed to become a physical scientist.

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Credit: Tex Texin
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/textexin/3612094774/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

If you watch crime shows on TV, you probably know that CSI stands for “crime scene investigation.” Solving a crime often depends on evidence gathered at the scene of the crime. That’s where forensic science technicians come in.

The Back Story

  • A forensic science technician is a specialist who gathers and analyzes evidence from crimes. The technician uses scientific principles and methods to make sense of the clues and help solve the crime. It can be a hard and sometimes unpleasant job, but it also can be very satisfying.
  • Forensic science technicians may do a variety of different types of tasks. They might run tests on guns to find the one used in a crime, or they might lift and study fingerprints from the scene.
  • Regardless of the type of investigation the technician does, a good background in physical science is needed for this career. Even forensic anthropologists, who try to tease clues from skeletal remains, need a strong background in physical science.
  • Watch this video interview with forensic anthropologist Angi Christensen to learn more about how she uses science to help solve crimes for the FBI: http://science.education.nih.gov/LifeWorks.nsf/Interviews/Angi+M.+Christensen

What Do You Think?

With the links below, learn more about a career as a forensic science technician. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Many forensic science technicians specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis. What are some specific tasks that specialists in these two areas might do?
  2. What education and training are needed to become a forensic science technician?
  3. What personal qualities and skills are important to be successful in this career?
  4. Do you think you would like to become a forensic science technician? Why or why not?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Tex Texin; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/textexin/3612094774/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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