Dr. Christopher Chyba
Dr. Christopher Chyba

Dr. Christopher Chyba

Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Princeton University
Member of President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology


Christopher Chyba is professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University, where he directs the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School. His work in international security emphasizes nuclear and biological weapons policy, arms control, and nonproliferation. His scientific research focuses on solar system physics, planetary exploration, and astrobiology.

Prior to coming to Princeton, Chyba co-directed Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) for five years. He was also associate professor of geological and environmental sciences at Stanford, and held the Carl Sagan Chair at the SETI Institute.

Chyba served on the White House staff from 1993-1995, entering as a White House Fellow, serving on the National Security Council staff, and then in the National Security Division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. As a consultant after leaving the White House, he drafted President Clinton's directive on responding to emerging infectious diseases, followed by a report on preparing for biological terrorism. In 1996, Chyba received the Presidential Early Career Award, "for demonstrating exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of science and technology during the 21st century." In 2001, he was named a MacArthur Fellow for his work in both international security and planetary science.

Chyba currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Committee for International Security and Arms Control, is past chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars, and past member of the National Academy’s Committee on Advances in Technology and the Prevention of Their Application to Next Generation Biowarfare Threats. He has served on the executive committee of NASA's Space Science Advisory Committee, for which he chaired the Solar System Exploration Subcommittee, and chaired the Science Definition Team for NASA’s Europa Orbiter mission. With Ambassador George Bunn, he is editor and author of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today's Threats (Brookings, 2006).

A physics graduate of Swarthmore College, Chyba holds an MPhil from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a PhD in astronomy and space sciences from Cornell University. In April 2009, President Obama appointed Chyba as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).