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Earth Institute Names John Mutter Deputy Director; Peter Schlosser Chair of Academic Committee

As part of an ongoing expansion of activities, the Earth Institute has appointed John C. Mutter as deputy director of the Earth Institute and Peter Schlosser as chair of the Earth Institute's academic committee.

Having served in leadership positions at the Earth Institute since December 2000, Mutter, professor of earth and environmental sciences, has been appointed deputy director through June 2004.

"John has the academic and administrative expertise the Earth Institute needs at this enormously exciting juncture when the Institute will expand its activities to take on some of the biggest global challenges in sustainable development," said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute. "During the next six months the Earth Institute will be formulating a 10-year strategy for this unique academic undertaking, and John will play a critical role in that process."

"We have been building the Earth Institute for several years and it is now well poised to fulfill its great potential and vision," Mutter noted. "I am very excited and honored to be part of the leadership team and to work as Jeff's deputy at this promising phase in the Earth Institute's development."

Mutter was born in Melbourne, Australia and is a permanent resident of the United States. He received a B.Sc. in Physics and Pure Mathematics from the University of Melbourne, a M.Sc. in Geophysics from the University of Sydney (Australia), and a Ph.D. in Marine Geophysics from Columbia. Mutter's research career was established through the application of marine seismology to studies of the tectonics of mid-ocean ridges, continental break-up and the development of passive continental margins. More recently his interests include complex system dynamics and the role that earth systems knowledge can play in advancing human societies.

Working with Sachs and Mutter will be Peter Schlosser, Vinton Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, as chair of the Earth Institute's academic committee. The academic committee's primary responsibility is the intellectual guidance of the Earth Institute and it will take the lead in formulating its 10-year strategic plan. Under Schlosser's leadership, the academic committee will expand its scope, membership and responsibilities.

Schlosser, a native of Germany, received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Heidelberg in 1985. He has been at Columbia since 1989. In addition to his appointment in the department of earth and environmental engineering, he presently serves as chair of the department, and also is a professor of earth and environmental sciences. His research focuses on studies of water movement and its variability in natural systems (oceans, lakes, rivers and groundwater) using natural and anthropogenic trace substances and isotopes as 'dyes' or as 'radioactive clocks.' He also studies ocean/atmosphere gas exchange, the reconstruction of continental paleotemperature records using groundwater as an archive, and anthropogenic impacts on natural systems.

"Peter is a renowned researcher in Earth Sciences and a key leader of the Earth Institute. Under his direction, the academic committee will formulate new strategies for tackling the complex challenges of sustainable development. The expanded task of the academic committee is very large, and I can think of no one better equipped to lead it than Professor Schlosser," said Sachs.

"I very much look forward to working with Jeff Sachs and John Mutter as we embark on the task of mapping out the research, educational, and public outreach goals for the Earth Institute to secure its role as the world's premier center for the study and advancement of sustainable development," added Schlosser. "With the University's strong backing of this novel and important enterprise, the Earth Institute will be poised to make major contributions to the scientific foundation required to minimize the human impact on the environment."

Published: Jan 21, 2003
Last modified: Jan 17, 2003

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