John Orcutt is Distinguished Professor of Geophysics at Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Retired/Returned to Active Duty (RTAD).

He received his Bachelors degree in mathematics and physics from Annapolis (1966), his M.Sc. in physical chemistry as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Liverpool (1968), and his Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (1976). He served on Navy Fleet Ballistic Submarines 1998-1973 and resigned his commission as Commander in 1977. He has published more than 175 scientific papers and book chapters, became an AGU Fellow in 1988, and received the Ewing Medal from the USN and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 1994. He received the Newcomb-Cleveland Prize from the AAAS in 1983 for best paper in Science for 1983 and in 2007 he was awarded the Marine Technology Society’s LockheedMartin Award for Ocean Science and Technology. He received a Secretary of the Navy/Chief of Naval Operations Chair in 1996 and chaired a three-year ONR Special Research Program (SRP) that coordinated Naval Research Laboratories and universities in studying seafloor scattering.

In 1997 he was named the UCSD Outstanding Alumnus of the Year and in 1997 was listed in UCSD’s Top 100 Influential Alumni register. He served as the President of the 60,000-member American Geophysical Union (AGU) from 2004-2006. He has been listed in Who’s Who in America since 2001 and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society since 2005.

His research interests include the exploitation of information technology for the collection and processing of real-time environmental data, seismology in the oceans and on land and marine geophysics. He was the Principal Investigator for the NSF MRE-FC Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Cyberinfrastructure Implementing Organization (IO). He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2002 and the National Academy of Engineering in 2011. He Chaired the NRC’s reviews of Ocean Exploration, the NOAA Tsunami Warning System and the Ocean Panel of the Climate, Energy and National Security (CENS) Committee. He served on an NRC study entitled Fukushima, Lessons Learned. He was Chair of the MEDEA Ocean Panel dedicated to the use of national technical means for understanding Earth’s environment, and completed a review of hydroacoustics monitoring by the UN’s Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the Indian Ocean six years ago.

He has been a member of the Science and Technology Experts Group (ISTEG) within the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) – the Intelligence Community Studies Board following the closing of MEDEA. Dr. Orcutt created a new open access journal within AGU in 2014 entitled Earth & Space Science with the goal of providing a peer-reviewed venue for publishing instrument software design and testing and modeling.  The journal was quite successful and the initial Impact Factor, in 2018 was 3.2, which is quite high for a new journal. He completed his term as Editor-in-Chief on 1 January 2019.

Dr. Orcutt assumed the Chairmanship of the UNOLS Marine Seismology Oversight Committee (MSROC) in March 2019.