March 28th, 2006


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John C. Mutter
Deputy Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University; Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University; Chair, State of the Planet Conference Steering Committee

Biographical Information

John C. Mutter is deputy director and associate vice provost of The Earth Institute at Columbia University and a professor in the departments of earth and environmental sciences and of international and public affairs. Mutter teaches undergraduates about such complex, dynamic Earth systems as earthquakes and climate variations. His graduate students in marine seismology learn how seismic energy is used to understand the Earth’s interior; he also coordinates the natural science component of the Ph.D. in sustainable development. Mutter has two main areas of research. The first is global tectonics using geophysical techniques. He has conducted more than 30 research cruises in all parts of the world including the Arctic and Antarctic, and has authored or co-authored more than 70 articles in scientific journals, as well as many popular publications. He is currently an editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research. Mutter’s second area of research is the relationship between natural systems and human well-being with particular focus on the vulnerability of poor societies to natural variations and extreme conditions. Most recently these studies included examination of Katrina’s impact and that of the 2004 tsunami. He received a B.S. in physics and pure mathematics from the University of Melbourne, Australia, an M.S. in geophysics from the University of Sydney, Australia, and a Ph.D. in marine geophysics from Columbia University.