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
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

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


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

Research Interests

Environmental engineering, cyberinfrastructure networks, sensors, geotropospheric interactions, engineering systems optimization. 

Courses Taught

  • EGR 206: Engineering Communication

Representative Publications

  • Pollak, AW; Peirce, JJ; Alvarez-Vázquez, LJ; Vázquez-Méndez, ME, Methodology for Identifying Optimal Locations of Water Quality Sensors in River Systems, Environmental Modeling & Assessment, vol 18 no. 1 (2013), pp. 95-103 [10.1007/s10666-012-9329-z] [abs].
  • Anderson, TS; Michael, EK; Peirce, JJ, Innovative Approaches for Managing Public-Private Academic Partnerships in Big Science and Engineering, Public Organization Review, vol 12 no. 1 (2012), pp. 1-22 [10.1007/s11115-010-0142-3] [abs].
  • Wander, M; Peirce, JJ, Formulation, structure, and analysis of a model to optimize staffing levels at border checkpoints, Journal of Transportation Engineering, vol 137 no. 11 (2011), pp. 789-795 [10.1061/(ASCE)TE.1943-5436.0000268] [abs].
  • Rawot, LA; Peirce, JJ; Kanoy, B, Preparing for the WATERS network: Engaging middle-school science students in environmental engineering, Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice, vol 137 no. 3 (2011), pp. 135-140 [10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000036] [abs].
  • Fukushima, A; Peirce, JJ, A hybrid performance measurement framework for optimal decisions, Measuring Business Excellence, vol 15 no. 2 (2011), pp. 32-43 [10.1108/13683041111131600] [abs].

Additional Information

Honors and Awards

  • 2001 Nominee: National Science Foundation Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mentoring, by Duke's Pratt School of Engineering
  • 1992 Recipient: Earl I. Brown II Undergraduate Teaching Award, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University
  • 1984 Recipient: Presidential Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation
  • 1984 Recipient: Outstanding Young Faculty Award, Southeastern Section, American Society for Engineering Education

Professional and Service Activities

  • Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • American Society for Engineering Education
  • Chi Epsilon
  • Sigma Xi
  • Member, Diversity Committee of The Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors
  • Chair, Seminar on the Principles and Practices in Engineered and Natural Environmental Systems, sponsored by the Pratt School of the Engineering and the Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Chair, Career Days, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Member, Advisory Panel, Undergraduate Environmental Science and Policy Program, Nicholas School of the Environment