Neal Driscoll is a professor of geology and geophysics in the Geosciences Research Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Driscoll researches tectonic deformation and the evolution of landscapes and seascapes. His work primarily focuses on the sediment record to understand the processes that shaped the earth. As part of this research, Driscoll spends time at sea acquiring images of the seafloor and subsurface layers to understand the processes that shape Earth.

Driscoll is also co-director of UC San Diego’s Center for Public Preparedness (CP2) and the ALERTWildfire program, an early fire confirmation and situational awareness tool built by UC San Diego, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Oregon. ALERTWildfire is a network of state-of-the-art Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) fire cameras and associated tools to help firefighters and first responders confirm and locate fire ignition; quickly scale fire resources up or down appropriately; monitor fire behavior through containment; and provide enhanced situational awareness to inform firefighting strategy and aid in evacuations. The system has now become an essential tool and hundreds of cameras are located across the western United States. The infrastructure for the system was first developed as an earthquake monitoring tool, but evolved into a multi-hazard system that continues to provide valuable monitoring during other extreme weather events and earthquakes.

Driscoll attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham, where he received a B.S. in geology. He worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as a research assistant. He received a master’s of science from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and a master’s in philosophy and a PhD from Columbia University.

Prior to joining Scripps, Driscoll was the Storke-Doherty Lecturer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, where he received the Heezen Award and the Storke Award for excellence in research. He was also previously an associate scientist at WHOI.

He was awarded the Office of Naval Research’s Young Investigator Award. Driscoll was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Distinguished Crosby Lecturer. He was chosen by Scripps students as the inaugural winner of the institution’s Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Last updated June 2021