The second question about forensic science is answered: following on from forensic science: how it is, Kiwiski asked, “As fascinating as the science is I think I’d still want to know how someone dealt with digging into some of the worst results of human behavior and what motivated them to keep going?”
The simple answer for me is: the desire to make sure that if science is used, even in part, to put someone in prison or release someone, that the science is done properly.
There would be nothing worse than science being wrong and a guilty person being acquitted or an innocent person being convicted. Even in the most horrendous of cases, it is our job as scientists to make sure the Triers of Fact (judge and jury usually) know what the science means in the context of a given case so they (not us) can make an informed decision on the Ultimate Issue: guilty or not guilty.
Separating science and facts from emotion is a difficult thing; some people are better than others at it. This is the part that can be tough but in order to do the job effectively, you have to find a way to manage it. Appreciating the value of mental health and making sure it is looked after is very important for those working in difficult and traumatic cases.
The other thing to remember is that a forensic scientist rarely knows all there is to know about a case. The scientific aspects of a case are utterly fascinating and it’s surprising how well people adapt to dealing with what many other people would consider abhorrent.
When the going gets tough, the thing to remember is that our overriding duty is to the court. Science must be fully, fairly, accurately and transparently reported. No exceptions.