Christopher F. Chyba

Christopher F. Chyba, PhD

Former CISAC Co-Director

Program on Science and Global Security
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013

(609) 258-5633 (voice)
(609) 258-5349 (fax)

Research Interests

nuclear nonproliferation; nuclear weapons policy; biological terrorism; solar system exploration; astrobiology


Christopher Chyba is Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

Previously, he was co-director of CISAC and an associate professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. He held the Carl Sagan Chair for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif.

His security-related research focuses on nuclear proliferation, nuclear weapons policy and biological terrorism. His planetary science and astrobiology research focuses on the search for life elsewhere in the solar system. In October 2001, he was named a MacArthur Fellow for his work in astrobiology and international security.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Chyba studied as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge and received his PhD in planetary science from Cornell University in 1991. He served on the White House staff from 1993 to 1995, entering as a White House Fellow, working 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 the President's directive on responding to emerging infectious diseases, and authored a report on preparing for biological terrorism. In 1996, he received the Presidential Early Career Award, "for demonstrating exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of science and technology during the 21st century." He chaired the Science Definition Team for NASA's Europa Orbiter mission, a mission to search for an ocean beneath the icy crust of Jupiter's moon Europa, and served on the executive committee of NASA's Space Science Advisory Committee, for which he chaired the Solar System Exploration Subcommittee.

Chyba serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Committee for International Security and Arms Control, the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies' Committee on Advances in Technology and the Prevention of Their Application to Next Generation Biowarfare Threats, and the Monterey Nonproliferation Strategy Group. He also chairs the NRC's Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars.

Stanford Affiliations

Geological and Environmental Sciences

Other Affiliations

Professor of Astrophysical Sciences and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University