John C. Mutter is the Associate Vice Provost of the Columbia Earth Institute, Executive Deputy Director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University.

Professor Mutter studies complex Earth system dynamics using geophysical methods. In recent years, he has used his expertise in the behavior of these systems, the inherent limits to their predictability as the basis for studying science-based issues of sustainable development. Currently, he is focusing on understanding how scientific advances made in developed countries can be used to elevate the condition of people in developing countries.

Professor Mutter received a B.Sc. in Physics and Pure Mathematics from the University of Melbourne, Australia, a M.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Sydney, Australia, and a Ph.D. in Marine Geophysics from Columbia University. Born in Melbourne, he is an Australian citizen and a permanent U.S. resident.

Professor Mutter's early research interests included marine seismology and tectonics, the study of physical mechanisms and processes associated with seafloor spreading, continental extension and the development of passive continental margins. Initial studies focused on rifting and volcanism in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. He continues those research thrusts with recent studies of active rifting in the Woodlark Basin off Papua New Guinea, as well as his other work on complex system dynamics. More recently he has turned his attention to the vexing issue of the role of earth systems in sustainable development.

From 1970-80, Professor Mutter served as a Geophysicist with the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra, ACT, Australia. From 1980 on, he has been at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Columbia Earth Institute, serving in research, teaching and administrative positions with increasing responsibility. In research, he moved from Research Associate in 1982 to Senior Research Scientist in 1989; in teaching, he advanced from Columbia University Faculty Fellow in 1982 to Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences in 1991. Administratively, he became Associate Director for Geophysics and Geology in January 1993, Director of Research in January 1994, Interim Director of the Observatory in March 1994 until September 1996 when he became Deputy Director of the Observatory and its Director of Research until May 1999. At that time, he was again appointed Interim Director through November 2000 when he was appointed Executive Deputy Director.

Professor Mutter has authored or co-authored more than 70 articles in scientific journals and many popular articles. His fieldwork includes over 30 cruises aboard Columbia's research vessels and others in all parts of the world's oceans.

Professor Mutter is married to Carolyn Zehnder Mutter, Assistant Director for Science Management of the International Research Institute (IRI) for climate predication located on the Lamont-Doherty campus. He has five children, three from a previous marriage.