John Colin Mutter

Professor John Mutter is jointly appointed in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences with a specialty in marine seismology, and in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and is a member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is Director of Graduate Studies for the PhD in Sustainable Development at SIPA. He researches the role of natural disasters in supporting and promoting the global inequality in development status and particularly in suppressing development opportunities for the poorest. He teaches a course on the sub ject with his colleague Sonali Deraniyagala, an economist from University College London.  Together they are completing a shot on Disasters and Development.  He also examines these questions through the lens of human rights, asking whether rights attainment can predict disaster outcomes, such as the response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, and how the norms and principals of human rights can provide guidance for climate adaptation strategies. He is author most recently of Climate Change Science: A primer for sustainable development (Columbia University Press, 2020)


  • BSc Melbourne University, physics/pure mathematics 
  • MSC Geophysics Sydney University 
  • PhD Columbia University (Advise Manik Talwani)

Honors & Awards

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science