Nobel Week Dialogue

Foto John Grotzinger

Previously chief scientist of the Mars Curiosity Rover mission, John Grotzinger is a professor of geology and geobiology who studies the surficial environments on Earth and Mars.

John Grotzinger is a professor of geology and geobiology, and the division chair for geological and planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology. He received his BSc from Hobart College, MSc from the University of Montana, a PhD from Virginia Tech and was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

Prior to moving to Caltech in 2005, he spent 18 years as a member of the faculty at MIT, where was named Waldemar Lindgren Distinguished Scholar, and Robert Shrock Professor of Geology. At Caltech he is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Geology and holds the Ted and Jenkins Leadership Chair for the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences.

His research group studies the co-evolution of surficial environments on Earth and Mars. Field mapping studies are the starting point for more topical laboratory-based studies involving geochemical, geologic, and geochronological techniques. He served as the chief scientist for the Mars Curiosity Rover mission from 2007-2015. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a recipient of NASA’s distinguished public service medal, and received the Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal in 2007 for the elucidation of ancient carbonates and the stromatolites they contain, and for meticulous field research that has established the timing of early animal evolution.