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Christopher Chyba is a professor of astrophysics and international affairs at Princeton University, and past director of the Program on Science and Global Security. As an associate professor at Stanford University before coming to Princeton, he co-directed the Center for International Security and Cooperation and held the Sagan Chair at the SETI Institute. He has been a Marshall Scholar and a MacArthur Fellow. During President Clinton’s first term, he served on the national security staff at the White House, entering as a White House Fellow. He served as a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) from August 2009 through January 2017, on which he co-chaired the Biodefense Working Group.

Research Interests


Chyba currently co-chairs an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, "Meeting the Challenges of the New Nuclear Age," which seeks to identify ongoing dangers and future trends increasing the likelihood of escalation to nuclear war, and propose approaches to mitigate these dangers. He is interested in the implication of new technologies for strategic stability, and has long-standing interests in the implications of biotechnology for biological warfare and potential terrorism. His scientific interests include the search for life in the solar system, particularly on Jupiter's moon Europa, and various topics in theoretical and applied electrodynamics.



C. F. Chyba and W. Austin, PCAST Letter to the President on Action Needed to Protect against Biological Attack, November 15, 2016.

C. F. Chyba and K. P. Hand, Electric Power Generation from Earth’s Rotation Through its Own Magnetic Field, Physical Review Applied, 6 (1), July 2016.



Weapons of Mass Destruction and International Security (WWS 548). This graduate seminar examines the roles of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in international security historically, at present, and in possible futures. The technical basis for these weapons is presented at a level suitable for the non-scientist, and the challenges of state and non-state acquisition or development are assessed. Topics to examined include deterrence, defense, preventive war, arms control, nonproliferation, and terrorism. New technologies and their potential impacts are highlighted. Offered: Spring 2019.



Could We Generate Electricity from Earth's Rotation Through Its Own Magnetic Field?, University of Wisconsin, Department of Physics, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, October 25, 2018.

Challenges of the New Nuclear Age, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, October 1, 2018.

Implications for North Korea of South African Denuclearization, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC, United States, April 30, 2018.

Possibilities for Non-Terran Life in the Universe, Breakthrough Discuss Conference, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, April 12, 2018.

Weapons of Mass Destruction, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY, March 20, 2018.