John Colin Mutter

Professor John Mutter is jointly appointed in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences with a specialty in 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 and director of the Earth Institute’s post-doctoral Fellows program. He researches the role of natural disasters in supporting the global inequality in development status and particularly in suppressing development opportunities for the poorest. 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