J. Jeffrey Peirce

Associate Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jeffrey Peirce received a bachelor of engineering science degree in engineering mechanics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1971, and a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1977. Prior to joining the Duke faculty in 1979, Professor Peirce was a Senior Engineer in the Environmental and Energy Division of Booz, Allen and Hamilton in Washington, D.C.

Professor Peirce's current research activities build on his interests in mechanics and include the study of physical, chemical, and microbiological aspects of particle-fluid interactions in treatment reactors, waste-amended and chemically-applied soils, and clay barriers to waste migration. Laboratory and modeling studies of gases, non-water liquids passing through selected porous media are leading to novel solutions to hazardous waste processing and storage problems. Current emphasis is on the study of trace gas production and transport in soil with a focus on nitric oxide (NO), a precursor to ozone formation and trace gases from fungicides and herbicides as precursors to endocrine disruptors in the lower levels of the troposphere.

In 1984, Professor Peirce was among the first recipients of the Presidential Young Investigator Award, presented by the National Science Foundation. This award and other financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Education, the State of North Carolina, and industrial sponsors have enabled him to pursue his research interests.

Professor Peirce has coauthored two successful textbooks: Environmental Engineering and Environmental Pollution and Control. Both texts are used in classrooms nationwide and have been translated into several languages for adoption in other countries.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 134A Engineering Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5210
  • Email Address: peirce@duke.edu


  • B.S. Johns Hopkins University, 1971
  • M.S. University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1973
  • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1977

Representative Publications

  • Pollak, A. W., J. J. Peirce, L. J. Alvarez-Vázquez, and M. E. Vázquez-Méndez. “Methodology for Identifying Optimal Locations of Water Quality Sensors in River Systems.” Environmental Modeling and Assessment 18, no. 1 (January 1, 2013): 95–103. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10666-012-9329-z.
  • Anderson, T. S., E. K. Michael, and J. J. Peirce. “Innovative Approaches for Managing Public-Private Academic Partnerships in Big Science and Engineering.” Public Organization Review 12, no. 1 (March 1, 2012): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-010-0142-3.
  • Wander, M., and J. J. Peirce. “Formulation, structure, and analysis of a model to optimize staffing levels at border checkpoints.” Journal of Transportation Engineering 137, no. 11 (December 16, 2011): 789–95. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)TE.1943-5436.0000268.
  • Rawot, L. A., J. J. Peirce, and B. Kanoy. “Preparing for the WATERS network: Engaging middle-school science students in environmental engineering.” Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice 137, no. 3 (July 1, 2011): 135–40. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000036.
  • Fukushima, A., and J. J. Peirce. “A hybrid performance measurement framework for optimal decisions.” Measuring Business Excellence 15, no. 2 (May 1, 2011): 32–43. https://doi.org/10.1108/13683041111131600.