Christopher Chyba is professor of astrophysical sciences and international affairs at Princeton University, where he also directs the Program on Science and Global Security at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His security-related research emphasizes nuclear and biological weapons policy, proliferation, and terrorism. His scientific research focuses on solar system exploration and the search for life elsewhere.
A graduate of Swarthmore College, Chyba studied mathematical physics as a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge. He served on the White House staff from 1993 to 1995, entering as a White House Fellow on the National Security Council staff and then serving in the National Security Division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). After leaving the White House, he drafted the President's decision directive on responding to emerging infectious diseases, and authored a report for OSTP in 1998 on preparing for biological terrorism. 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 and served on the executive committee of NASA's Space Science Advisory Committee, for which he chaired the Solar System Exploration Subcommittee.
Chyba currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Committee for International Security and Arms Control. He is past chair of the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies' Committee on Preventing the Forward Contamination of Mars, and past member of the NRC Committee on Advances in Technology and the Prevention of their Application to Next Generation Biowarfare Threats. Before coming to Princeton, Chyba co-directed Stanford University's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) for five years, where he was also associate professor of geological and environmental sciences. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute.
In October 2001, he was named a MacArthur Fellow for his work in both planetary science and international security. With Ambassador George Bunn, he is editor of the newly published U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy: Confronting Today's Threats (Brookings Institution Press). Ph.D., Cornell University.