Dr. Urrutia is a research fellow at the Geophysics Institute and subject professor in the Science Department and the Postgraduate Program in Biology, Earth and Ocean Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Dr. Urrutia earned his Doctoral Degree in Physics at the University of Newcastle pon Tyne, England (1980), after a Master’s in Science (1976) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geophysics (1975). He was a visiting researcher at the University of Michigan, USA from 1982-1983. Dr. Urrutia was Director of the UNAM Geophysics Institute from 1997-2005, a member of the Scientific Advisory Council in 2009, the UNAM Governing Body in 2013, elected Member of The National College in 2013 and President of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (2014-2017).
Dr. Urrutia’s interests center on the Earth Systems and planetary sciences, and include paleomagnetism, tectonics, geophysical exploration, paleoclimatology, impact craters and meteorites. His research concerns paleomagnetism, tectonics, geophysical exploration, the Chicxulub crater, the extinction of organisms, the Allende meteorite and the origin and evolution of the solar system. He has contributed to documenting tectonic evolution and the paleogeography of Mexico, the formation of the Pangaea subcontinent, continental division and tectonic rotation; he has also undertaken studies in paleomagnetism, geomagnetism and magnetic rock, explorations of mineral resources and core structures. Of a multi-disciplinary nature, his research involves the collaboration of colleagues from a variety of academic fields and countries.
Dr. Urrutia has published over 220 articles in international magazines and, as part of his work on infrastructure, has created a network of laboratories dedicated to Paleomagnetism, Nuclear Geophysics, Magnetic Properties, Radiocarbons, Nuclear Perforation Analysis, and Seismic Sequences and Process Stratigraphy. He teaches a wide range of courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and has supervised 93 theses (21 doctoral, 29 master’s, 43 bachelor’s) and 7 post-doctoral researchers Additionally, Dr. Urrutia has edited 14 special volumes including the book Extreme Natural Hazards, published by Cambridge University Press
Dr. Urrutia’s research has received support from: the National Science Foundation, CONACYT, DGAPA-UNAM, NASA, UC-MEXUS, the VW Scientific Foundation, the National Research Council, United Kingdom, the Ministry of Education Mombusho, Japan, the Japan International Cooperation Agency JICA, the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program ICDP, the European Community, the France-Mexico Cooperation Program, the Pan-American Institute for Geography and History IPGH, the R.J. Zevada Foundation, National Geographics and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program IODP.
Through the organization of events and expositions, the publication of magazine articles and books, conference leadership and participation in radio and television programs, Dr. Urrutia actively disseminates information about his fields of interest. In 2011 he received the Quo-discovery distinction for his studies on Chicxulub and the evolution of life. He has participated in the International Year of Physics and International Planet Earth Programs, the International Physics Olympiad, the National Science Communication Encounter, CAM Conference Waterloo 2013, and the organization of other dissemination programs. Dr. Urrutia was the scientific advisor for the Chicxulub and Dinosaur Extinction Exposition, the Great Maya World Museum and most recently for the Chicxulub Science Museum in the Yucatán Science and Technology Park.
He has been an associate editor for the following publications: Quaternary Research 2005-; Bulletin Geological Society America 1999-2001; Journal Geophysical Research 1993-1995; Geologica Acta 2003-; Geofisica Internacional 1994-; Geofisica 1999-2009; Boletín Sociedad Geológica Mexicana 2003-2005; Revista Mexicana Ciencias Geológicas 2003-; Bol Geos 1986-1988; Digital Geosciences 2007-; Open Mineral Processing Journal 2007-; Boletín Asociación Mexicana Geofísicos Exploración 2001-2003; Ingeniería Investigación y Desarrollo 1997-; Ingeniería Petrolera 2011-, History of Geo- and Space Sciences 2013.
A part of Dr. Urrutia’s interests has been directed towards international programs and organizations; he is still an active participant in many worldwide scientific societies and international endeavors. Among the congresses and symposiums he has organized are the 2013 Joint Assembly of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the 2010 Humboldt Conference, the GIFT Workshop for professors in the European Geosciences Union, the Symposium on Natural Disasters EHANS and the Congress of the Americas. Dr. Urrutia presides over TWAS-Mexico, a branch of the TWAS Third World Academy of Sciences. The programs he oversees at TWAS involve collaboration between Latin America and the Caribbean. He has participated in the International Continental Drilling Program as a member of the Board, the Executive Committee and the Scientific Advisory Board; he was coordinator of the drilling projects at Chicxulub. Dr. Urrutia was responsible for organizing the Earth and Space Science Society Presidents’ Convention, the AGU congress’s special international cooperation sessions in the USA, Canada, Brazil and Australia and he also participated in the Geosciences Global Initiative. He was a UN and UNESCO board member for the International Year of Planet Earth from 2007-2010, International Secretary and Board of Directors member at AGU (American Geophysical Union) from 2006-2010 as well as participating in the Nomination Committee at the American Geosciences Institute. He is currently a member of the AGU Governance Committee (2010-2014) and of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Physics (2006-2015).
Within Mexico, Dr. Urrutia is President of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (2014-2017); President of the Mexican Physics Society (2013-2015), member of the Governing Board of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (2013-2020) and member of The National College -El Colegio Nacional- (since 2013). He has been President of the Mexican Geophysics Union, Mexican Quaternary Studies Union, College of Engineers and Geophysicists, TWAS Mexico Chapter, the Geophysical Engineering Commission, the Engineering Department and Treasurer of the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He is currently a member of the Governing Body at CENAPRED within the Department of the Interior.
Additional work in Mexico includes participation in the Yucatán SIIDETEY Advisory Council and the Governing Organism at the Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education, CICESE. Dr. Urrutia is a member of the Governing Board at the Institute for Physics, Ocean Sciences and Limnology, Geology, Biology, the Center for Geosciences and the Engineering Department at the UNAM; the CONACYT center at CICESE, the Institute of Scientific Research and Technology of San Luis Potosí, and the Scientific Research Center of the Yucatán.
Dr. Urrutia’s work has received a variety of awards. These include: the 2009 National Award for Art and Science; the 2013 International Award from the American Geophysical Union; the D Valencio 2013 Award from the Latin American Association of Paleomagnetism; the National University Award 2007; the Mexican Academy of Sciences Award 1991; the Bárcena Award from the Mexican Geophysical Union 2010; The Potosí Award 2010; the Noriega Award from the American State Organization 1992; the Koerdell Award from the Mexican Geophysical Union 1991; the Ezequiel Chávez Professorship Award from the College of Sciences and Humanities 1992; the 1988 Puebla Award and the 1986 Valles Award. Additionally, Dr Urrutia was a TWAS Third World Academy of Sciences Fellow in 2004 and the Geological Society of America Fellow in 2010.