Dr Ruth Morgan

Senior Lecturer/Director of the Centre for Forensic Sciences

Address: UCL Department of Security and Crime Science, 35 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EZ
Phone No: +44(0)20 3108 3037
Fax No: +44(0)20 3108 3088
Extension: 53037
Dr Ruth Morgan

Ruth joined UCL in 2007 having completed a D.Phil in Forensic Geoscience at the University of Oxford. Her research is focussed around the role of physical evidence in the detection of crime.  Current research interests include establishing the evidence dynamics, transfer and persistence of geoforensic materials (soil, sediment, pollen etc.), and research that contributes to the production of guidelines for the practice of forensic geoscience. Recent work has concentrated on developing forensic applications of Scanning Electron Microscopy in the analysis of quartz grain surface textures.  Her research has been presented at a number of international conferences and appeared in New Scientist and the press. 

Ruth is the Director of the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences.  The Centre seeks to facilitate a network of UCL academics from a wide range of different disciplines and departments to enable a strategic and multidisciplinary research programme in collaboration with external partners and forensic science stakeholders.

She is a member of a number of committees including the London Geological Society Forensic Geoscience Group, the UK Forensic Science Education Group and a member of the Advisory Board of Inside Justice. She is also a reviewer for forensic geoscience submissions for a number of internationally peer reviewed journals.

Current collaborators include Dr Lewis Griffin (UCL Computer Science), Dr Peter Bull (University of Oxford), Dr Melanie Webb (University of Surrey), Dr James Robertson (University of Canberra), Dr Lorna Dawson (Macaulay Institute), Dr James Riding (British Geological Survey).

Publishing Prizes

The Forensic Science Society P W Allen Award 2006 for the best paper in Science and Justice 2006/7 for Sediment Fingerprints: A forensic technique using quartz sand grains. Science and Justice 46 (2): 107-124

Elsevier 'top 10 cited papers 2006-8 in Science and Justice' awarded to ‘Sediment Fingerprints: A forensic technique using quartz sand grains. Science and Justice 46 (2): 107-124’ (4th place).

Elsevier 'top 10 cited papers 2006-8 in Science and Justice' awarded to ‘The transfer and persistence of trace particulates: Experimental studies using clothing fabrics. Science and Justice. 46(3): 185-195’ (6th place).

Peer-Review Journal Articles

Nakhaeizadeh, S., Dror, I. and Morgan, R. M. (2014) Cognitive Bias in Forensic Anthropology: Visual Assessments of Skeletal Remains is Susceptible to Confirmation Bias. Science and Justice [in press]

Miles, H. F., Morgan, R. M., Millington, J. (2014) The influence of fabric surface characteristics on satellite bloodstain morphology.  Science and Justice [in press]

Morgan, R. M., Flynn, J., Sena, V., Bull. P. A. (2014) Experimental forensic studies of the preservation of pollen in vehicle fires Science and Justice 54 (2): 141-145

Morgan, R. M., Allen, E., King, T., Bull, P. A. (2014) The spatial and temporal distribution of pollen in a room: Forensic implications. Science and Justice 54(1): 49-56

French, J. C., Morgan, R. M. and Davy, J. (2014) The secondary transfer of gunshot residue: An experimental investigation carried out with SEM-EDX analysis. X-Ray Spectrometry 43: 56-61

Abdul-Karim, N., Morgan, R., Binions, R., Harrison, K., Temple, T.  (2013) Forensic Implications of the spatial distribution of post-blast RDX residue. Journal of Forensic Sciences 58(2): 365-371

Morgan, R. M., Davies, G., Balestri, F. and Bull, P. A. (2013) The forensic implications for pollen on documents. Science and Justice 53(4): 375-384

Konopinski, D. I., Hudziak, S., Mrogan, R. M., Bull, P. A., Kenyon, A. J. (2012) Investigation of quartz grain surface textures by atomic force microscopy for forensic analysis. Forensic Science International 223: 245-255

Heinrich, D. P., Thornton, A. E., Morgan, R. M., Bouhana, N. (2012) An initial analysis of forensic evidence used in the prosecution of terrorism cases in Britain between 1972 and 2008. Policing Journal of Policy and Practice 7(1):96-108 doi 10.1093/police/pas064

Pringle, J.K., Ruffell, A., Jervis, J.R., Donnelly, L., McKinley, J., Hansen, J., Morgan, R. M., Pirrie, D. and Harrison, M.  2012 The use of earth science methods in terrestrial forensic searches Earth Science Reviews 114:108-123

Bailey, M. J., Morgan, R., Comini, P., Calusi, S., Bull, P. A. (2012) An evaluation of Particle Induced X-Ray emission and Particle Induced Gamma Ray emission of quartz grains for forensic trace sediment analysis. Analytical Chemistry 84: 2260-2267

Marshall, J. R., Bull, P. A., MORGAN, R. (2012) Energy Regimes for Aeolian Sand Grain Surface Textures. Sedimentary Geology 253:17-24

Newell, A. J., MORGAN, R., Bull, P. A., Griffin, L. D., Graham, G. (2012). Automated texture recognition of quartz sand grains for forensic analysis for forensic applications. Journal of Forensic Sciences 57(5) 1285-1289

French, J. C., MORGAN, R. M., Baxendell, P., Bull, P. A. (2012). Multiple transfers of particulates and their dissemination within contact networks. Science and Justice 52(1): 33-41     

Newell, A. J., Griffin, L. D., Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2010 Texture-based estimation of physical characteristics of sand grains. dicta, pp.504-509, International Conference on Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications, 2010

Morgan, R. M., French, J., O’Donnell, L. and Bull, P. A. 2010 The reincorporation and redistribution of trace geoforensic particulates on clothing. Science and Justice 50: 195-199

Morgan, R. M., Robertson, J., Lennard, C., Hubbard, K. and Bull, P. A. 2010 Quartz grain surface texture analysis of sediments and soils from Canberra, Australia; a forensic reconstruction tool.  Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 42/3:169-179

Morgan, R. M., Cohen, J., McGookin, I., Murly-Gotto, J., O’Connor, R., Muress, S., Freudiger-Bonzon, J. and Bull, P. A. 2009 The relevance of the evolution of experimental studies for the interpretation and evaluation of some trace physical evidence Science and Justice 49: 277-285.

Morgan, R. M., Allen, E., Lightowler, Z. L., Freudiger-Bonzon, J. and Bull, P. A. 2009 A forensic geoscience framework and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice 2: 185-195

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R, M. and Freudiger-Bonzon, J. 2008 A critique of the present use of some geochemical techniques in geoforensic analysis. Forensic Science International 178 e35-e40

Morgan, R. M., Gibson, A., Little, M., Hicks, L., Dunkerley, S. and Bull, P. A. 2008 The preservation of quartz grain surface textures following vehicle fire and their use in forensic enquiry Science and Justice 48 (3) 133-140

Bull, P. A. and Morgan, R. M. 2007 Sediment Fingerprints: A forensic technique using quartz sand grains. A response. Science and Justice 47(3): 141-144

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2007 Forensic Geoscience and Crime detection. Identification, interpretation and presentation in forensic geoscience. Minerva Medicolegale 127 (2): 73-90

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2007 The use of particle size analysis of sediments and soils in forensic enquiry. Science and Justice 47(3): 125-135

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2007 The philosophy, nature and practice of forensic sediment analysis. Progress in Physical Geography. 31 (1):43-58

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2006 Data interpretation in forensic sediment geochemistry. Environmental Forensics. 7(4):325-334

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. M., Sagovsky, A. and Hughes, G. J. A. 2006 The transfer and persistence of trace particulates: Experimental studies using clothing fabrics. Science and Justice. 46(3): 185-195

Bull, P. A., Parker, A. G. and Morgan, R. M. 2006 The forensic analysis of soils and sediment taken from the cast of a footprint. Forensic Science International. 162:6-12

Morgan, R. M., Wiltshire, P., Parker, A. G. and Bull, P. A. 2006 The role of forensic geoscience in wildlife crime detection. Forensic Science International. 162: 152-162

Bull P. A. and Morgan, R. M. 2006 Sediment Fingerprints: A forensic technique using quartz sand grains. Science and Justice 46 (2): 107-124

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. M., Dunkerley, S. and Wilson, H. E. 2005 'SEM-EDS analysis and discrimination of forensic soil’. A comment. Forensic Science International 155 (2-3): 222-224

Morgan, R. M., Bull, P. A. and Paskoff, R.) 2005 Origin of the Cerro El Dragón coastal dune, Iquique, Atacama desert, Chile. Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie 49(2): 167-182

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. M.., Wilson, H. E. and Dunkerley, S. 2004 Multi-technique comparison of source and primary transfer soil samples: an experimental investigation’. A Comment. Science and Justice 44(3):173-176

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. The Scanning Electron Microscope in Geomorphology. In Switzer, A. D., Kennedy, D. (Eds.) (2013) Methods Volume of Treatise of Geomorphology. Academic Press

Morgan, R. M., and Bull, P. A. Forensic Geoscience Evidence.  Springer Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (2013).

Morgan, R. M., Freudiger-Bonzon, J., Nichols, K. H., Jellis, T., Dunkerley, S., Zelazowski, P. and Bull, P. A. 2009 The geoforensic analysis of soils from footwear. In Ritz, K., Dawson, L. and Miller, D. (Eds) Criminal and Environmental Soil Forensics. Springer. pp253-269

2010 Provenance, environment and energy regimes utilising quartz grains in forensic reconstruction. Environmental Forensics, The London Geological Society, 16th December 2010.

2010 Crime Scenes and Forensic Science: the micro-geography of investigation.  The 8th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester 10th-11th June 2010

2009  An introduction to geoforensics.  The 7th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester May 2009. 

2009 Quartz grain surface texture analysis of forensic soil samples and ion beam analysis. University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre's 18th Annual User Workshop, University of Surrey 1st April 2009.

2008 The relevance of experimental studies for interpretation and evaluation of physical evidence. The Forensic Science Society Conference: Research Evaluation and Interpretation. Robinson College Executive Centre, Wyboston, 31st October-2nd November.

2008 Quartz grain surface texture analysis of sediments and soils from Canberra, Australia; a forensic reconstruction tool. The 19th International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 6th-9th October 2008. Keynote lecture

2008 An introduction to geoforensics. The 6th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester 29th-30th July 2008.

2008 Quartz grain surface texture analysis in forensic casework. Materials in Forensic Science, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. Carlton House Terrace 7th May 2008.

2008 UCL Geography ‘Forensic Geoscience: Criminal and Environmental Investigations’

2007-to date Oxford University Centre for the Environment ‘Role of experimental studies in forensic geoscience’; ‘Pollen in domestic dwellings’;

Published Abstracts and Conference Presentations


McCulloch, G., Morgan, R. M. and Jones, A. 2012 Organic Analysis of Forensic Soil Samples by HPLC.  ANZFSS 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences. Hobart Tasmania, Australia 24-27th September 2012.

French, J. C. Morgan, R. M. and Lagnado, D. A. 2012 The Multiple Transfer of Gunshot Residue (GSR): Evidence Dynamics, Crime Investigation and Interpretation Issues. ANZFSS 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences. Hobart Tasmania, Australia 24-27th September 2012.

Abdul-Karim, N., Morgan, R. M., Blackman, C. 2012 CSI: Explosives – Finding Hidden Clues. ANZFSS 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences. Hobart Tasmania, Australia 24-27th September 2012.

Morgan, R. M., Konopinski, D. I., Hudziak, S., Bull, P. A., Kenyon, A. J. 2012 Atomic Force Microscopy applications for forensic quartz sand grain surface texture analysis. ANZFSS 21st International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences. Hobart Tasmania, Australia 24-27th September 2012.

Dawson, L. Jackson, G. Brewer, M. J., Macdonald, L. and Morgan. R. M. 2012 Soil as intelligence and evidence: learning experiences from research and casework. EAFS 2012 The Hague, The Netherlands 20-24th August 2012.

Morgan, R. M. Newell, A., Bull, P.A. and Griffin, L.D. 2012 The use of quartz in forensic science towards full automation. EAFS 2012 The Hague, The Netherlands 20-24th August 2012.

Brayley, H., Morgan, R. M. and Wortley, R.  2012 Biding your time: can covert operations work with children are involved?  Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting March 2012 

 French, J. C., Morgan, R. M., Lagnado, D. A. 2011  Trace evidence dynamics and the secondary transfer of gunshot residue (GSR). BIT’s 2nd Annual World Congress of Forensics: Science, Justice and Peace. Chongqing, China October 2011 

 Morgan, R. M., Ainley, J., Scott, K., Bull, P. A. 2011 Trace materials on footwear – Science or Ichnomancy? The perils for interpretation of soil trace evidence.  National Institute of Justice and FBI Trace Evidence Symposium, Kansas City, 8-11th August 2011. 

Miles, H., Morgan, R. M., Lagnado, D. 2011 Developing analytical Blood Pattern Analysis (BPA) techniques for environmentally altered bloodstains; and examining the presentation of BPA evidence in the context of jury decision making. 5th International Crime Science Conference, London. 13th July 2011 

 French, J. C., Morgan, R. M., Lagnado, D. 2011 The multiple transfer of trace particulates and gunshot residue (GSR): Evidence dynamics, investigative implications and interpretation using Bayesian networks. . 5th International Crime Science Conference, London. 13th July 2011 

 Brayley, H., Morgan, R. M., Wortley, R. 2011 Forensic Intelligence in UK Internal Child Sex Trafficking Operations 5th International Crime Science Conference, London. 13th July 2011

Calusi, S., Bailey, M., Bull, P., Grime, G., Palitsin, V., Comini, P., Morgan, R. 2011 Ionoluminescence analyses of quartz for forensic applications. EU FP7 SPIRIT User Workshop, Farnham Castle, Surrey, UK 11th March 2011

Morgan, R. M., Newell, A., Griffin, L., Marshall, J. F., Bull, P. A. 2010 Provenance, environment and energy regimes utilising quartz grains in forensic reconstruction. Environmental Forensics, The London Geological Society, 16th December 2010. Invited presentation.

Bailey, M., Morgan, R. M., Comini, P. and Bull, P. A. Ion beam analysis – A new tool for geoforensics. Environmental Forensics, The London Geological Society, 16th December 2010.

Newell, A. J., Griffin, L. D., Morgan, R. M., Bull, P. A. 2010 Texture-Based Estimation of Physical Characteristics of Sand Grains Digital Image Computing: Techniques and Applications, Sydney Australia 1-3rd December 2010

Comini, P., Morgan, R. M., Bull, P. A. and Bailey, M. 2010 PIXE of quartz grains for forensic applications. Institute of Physics, London, June 2010


Morgan, R. M. 2010 Crime Scenes and Forensic Science: the micro-geography of investigation.  The 8th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester 10th-11th June 2010

Comini, P., Morgan, R. M., Bull, P. A. and Bailey, M. 2010 Provenancing of Quartz Grains using PIXE for forensic applications.  International Conference on Particle Induced X-ray Emission and its Analytical Applications University of Surrey, Guildford U.K. 27th June-2nd July 2010.

Morgan, R. M., Allen, E., Balestri, F., Davies, G., Flynn, J., King, T., Sena, V. and Bull, P. A. 2009 Pollen in domestic dwellings: forensic implications.  National Institute of Justice and FBI Trace Evidence Symposium, Clearwater Beach, Fl, USA 3rd-7th August 2009

Morgan, R. M. 2009  An introduction to geoforensics.  The 7th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester May 2009.  Invited Presentation

Morgan, R. M., Bailey, M., Bull, P. A., Jeynes, C. 2009 Quartz grain surface texture analysis of forensic soil samples and ion beam analysis.  University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre's 18th Annual User Workshop, University of Surrey 1st April 2009. Invited presentation

Morgan, R. M., Allen, E., Balestri, F., Davies, G., Bull, P. A 2008 The spatial and temporal distribution of pollen in an indoor setting and upon writing paper.  The London Geological Society: Geoscientific Equipment and Techniques at Crime Scenes.  Burlington House 17th December 2008.

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2008  The relevance of experimental studies for interpretation and evaluation of physical evidence.  The Forensic Science Society Conference: Research Evaluation and Interpretation.  Robinson College Executive Centre, Wyboston, 31st October-2nd November. Invited Presentation

Morgan, R. M., Robertson, J., Lennard, C., Hubbard, K., Freudiger-Bonzon, J., and Bull, P. A.)2008  Quartz grain surface texture analysis of sediments and soils from Canberra, Australia; a forensic reconstruction tool.  The 19th International Symposium on the Forensic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 6th-9th October 2008.  Keynote lecture

Morgan, R. M. 2008  An introduction to geoforensics.  The 6th National Crime Mapping Conference, Manchester 29th-30th July 2008. Invited Presentation

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2008  The forensic life of a sand grain.  The Second International Crime Science Conference:  Science Crime and Security: Creating sustainable partnerships. London 17th-18th July 2008.

Morgan, R. M. and Bull, P. A. 2008  Quartz grain surface texture analysis in forensic casework.  Materials in Forensic Science, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.  Carlton House Terrace 7th May 2008. Invited Presentation.

Freudiger-Bonzon, J., Bull, P. A. and Morgan, R. M. 2007  A geoforensic comparison of physical and chemical analysis of soils from the plateau region of Switzerland.  2nd International Workshop on Criminal and Environmental Forensics 2007, Edinburgh, UK 30 October - 1 November 2007 p43

Morgan, R. M., Bull, P. A., Freudiger-Bonzon, J., Parmee, J., Dunkerley, S., Jellis, T., Nichols, K 2007 The geoforensic analysis of soils from footwear.  2nd International Workshop on Criminal and Environmental Forensics 2007, Edinburgh, UK 30 October - 1 November 2007 p17

Morgan, R. M , Bull, P. A., Cohen, J., Murly-Gotto, J. and O’Connor, R. 2006  The persistence and tenacity of trace particulates as found on clothing and motor vehicle seats.  An experimental approach using glass fragments, fibres, soils and anthropogenic materials.  The 4th European Academy of Forensic Sciences 2006 Conference Helsinki 2006.  

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. M. and Green, C. 2006  The identification of the provenance and persistence of multi-sourced soil samples recovered from motor vehicles using quartz grain surface texture analysis by scanning electron microscopy.  The 4th European Academy of Forensic Sciences 2006 Conference Helsinki 2006.  

Morgan, R. M., Wiltshire, P., Parker, A. G. and Bull, P. A. 2005  Wildlife crime detection using geoscience techniques.    17th meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences.  21st-26th August 2005 Hong Kong, China. p117

Bull, P. A., Parker, A. G. and Morgan, R. M. 2005  The analysis of footprints using forensic geoscience.  17th meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences.  21st-26th August 2005 Hong Kong, China. p82

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R, M. and Leslie, F. 2004  Sediment traces from the exterior of motor vehicles.  The Forensic Science Society Conference, 5th November 2004, Contact Trace Workshop, Wyboston, Cambridgeshire.

Bull, P. A., Morgan, R. M., Dunkerley, S., Sagovsky, A., Brent, C., Little, M. and Ormes, H. 2004  Persistence of trace particulates in forensic enquiry.  The Forensic Science Society Conference, 5th November 2004, Contact Trace Workshop, Wyboston, Cambridgeshire.    

2012 UCL Enterprise Learning Development Grant (£900)

2011 UCL Enterprise Award for the development of a new CPD course in ‘Effectively Tackling Forensic Evidence’ (£57,297) 

2010  Provost’s Strategic Funding in collaboration with Faculties of Engineering, Laws and MAPS for the UCL JDI Centre for the Forensic Sciences (£212,000) 

2007 Modelling 'journey to crime': Separating and quantifying the influence of offender-specific factors from offence-specific factors (ESRC Award Reference Number RES-000-22-2238)

2008 Overseas travel award ‘Collaboration meetings with academics at UWA, Canberra University and an international conference presentation of new research in Melbourne, Australia’. (EPSRC reference number EP/G026718/1) £10,000

2009-10 Automated quartz grain surface texture analysis (Atomic Weapons Establishment) £22,000

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