Robert J. Geller

Seismologist, Educator, Commentator

Geller is widely recognized as one of the world's leading seismologists. He has published over 100 highly cited papers in journals including Nature, Science, and top specialty journals. He is also a highly popular lecturer; since the 2011 Tohoku earthquake he has spoken throughout Japan under the title "Seismological Knowledge and its limitations: Expect the Unexpected." He also has written a popular book in Japanese and many popular articles in both English and Japanese. He has appeared on TV often, especially on the popular talk-debate program "Soko made itte iinkai" produced by Yomiuri TV in Osaka. However, because his views on earthquake prediction and forecasting disagree with the official position of the Japanese government, he has been ignored by the quasi-government broadcaster NHK since 1994.


Geller was born in New York City in 1952. He received his education at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech; BS 1973, MS, 1975; PhD, 1977). After one year as a Research Fellow at Caltech, and six years as Assistant Professor at Stanford University, he was appointed Associate Professor of Geophysics by the University of Tokyo in 1984, thereby becoming the first tenured foreign faculty member in the University's history. He was promoted to full professor in 1999, and after his retirement in March 2017 was named Professor Emeritus. He was honored by being named a Fellow of the Japan Geoscience Union in 2017.

Earthquakes cannot be predicted.