Professor Duncan Pirrie’s background is as a sedimentary geologist. His interests are very wide ranging, from understanding fundamental geological processes which shape our planet, through to understanding how we can use our natural resources for the benefit of society in as sustainable way as possible
His current research projects are linked to geothermal (and carbon capture and storage) wells, and battery mineral resources, with recent research focusing on the provenance of the stones of Stonehenge and construction materials in Hadrian’s Wall.
Professor Pirrie is one of a very small group of forensic geologists in the UK. His research in this area led to his recognition as an expert witness by the UK National Crime Agency and invitations to join UK Home Office and USA working groups in this field. His book A Guide to Forensic Geology follows international case work experiences and research on homicide graves, burials associated with serious and organised crime and counter terrorism.
He said: “Much of my work has been about provenance – the scientific understanding of where something has come from. This might be understanding the source of an ancient sediment, but also where raw materials were sourced from for iconic structures such as Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall. Research should be about exploring the unknown. It’s fantastically exciting as you just don’t know what you will find – it’s the same excitement as looking over the next mountain range.”
Professor Pirrie is currently Head of Research for the Faculty of Computing, Engineering, and Science, the course leader for the MSc Advanced Applied Field Geoscience and the lead for Geoscience Research.