Dr. Christopher Rothfuss was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on October 21, 1972. He moved with his family to Marquette, Michigan in 1976, and then to Casper, Wyoming in 1985. Chris attended Natrona County High School in Casper and graduated in 1990. While at NC, he was a member of the debate team, honor society, and student council, a drummer in the marching band, and played a bit of soccer. Upon graduation, Chris received a UW Trustees' Superior Student Scholarship, awarded to the top 25 students in the state, and headed off to Laramie in the fall.
Chris graduated from the University of Wyoming with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies in 1994. Dr. Rothfuss was a member of the UW Honors Program and presented an Honors thesis on sustainable development. He was also a successful member of the nationally competitive UW Debate Team throughout his undergraduate tenure at the University, and was the Debate Team captain as a senior.
Dr. Rothfuss continued his education at the University of Wyoming, pursuing a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering under Professor Chang-Yul Cha. His research focused on the utilization of a spent tire and waste oil derived carbonous residue as an asphalt modifier. He completed his degree and graduated from the UW Chemical Engineering program in 1996.
On June 23, 1996, two days after defending his thesis, Chris married Heather Hoveland of Sheridan. The two had met at the University and began dating 4 years earlier. Shortly after the wedding, they moved to South Australia for 6 months, where Heather completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering through an exchange program with the University of Adelaide.
Heather and Chris returned from Australia in 1997 and moved to Seattle, Washington, where Heather started her PhD program in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington. That year, Chris began working with Chemical Tracers, Inc. (CTI), an oilfield service company, based in Laramie, which performs in situ reservoir fluid saturation measurements, primarily for evaluating the efficacy of enhanced oil recovery programs and for evaluating existing oil reserves. Since that year, Dr. Rothfuss has continued his professional relationship with CTI and has joined the company to perform field tests on the North Slope of Alaska, in Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, off the coast of Brazil and in the Elk Hills of California.
In the fall of 1998, Chris joined the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Washington to continue his graduate studies. Chris completed his PhD under Professor Eric Stuve and defended his dissertation entitled The Influence of High Electric Fields on Water and Methanol Surface Electrochemistry in 2002. At the same time, Dr. Rothfuss attended an evening coursework program through the Physics Department and received a Master of Science Degree in Applied Physics in 2002. While at the University of Washington, Chris received the McCarthy Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, and was specially honored by the Chemical Engineering Class of 2002 as their outstanding teaching assistant.
Following the conclusion of his PhD, Chris was selected as a Science and Technology Diplomacy Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He began his fellowship in the fall of 2003, serving at the U.S. Department of State, first in the Office of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary, and then in the Office of Space and Advanced Technology. Dr. Rothfuss remained with the State Department until 2006 when he and his family returned to Wyoming. While with the Department, Chris was responsible for providing expert scientific advice and analysis to aid in the development of U.S. foreign policy for a wide range of issues, including remote sensing, missile technology export control, and advanced energy technologies. However, his primary responsibilities were as the senior nanotechnology advisor for the Department, and as a U.S. delegate to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). As nanotechnology advisor, Chris represented U.S. interests in bilateral and multilateral meetings and negotiations, and coordinated U.S. foreign policy on nanotechnology-related issues, in cooperation with other federal agencies and the intelligence community. He served as the first chairman of the Global Issues in Nanotechnology (GIN) Working Group of the NSTC Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee, and was the Department's representative to the NSET itself. As a U.S. delegate to the UN COPUOS, and the UN COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, Dr. Rothfuss was a member of the Space Debris and Space Nuclear Power groups, working to develop international guidelines and agreements that will help to preserve safe access to space for all countries.
In August of 2006, Heather and Chris, and their two boys - Connor, born in 2003; and Zane, born in 2005 - moved back home to Wyoming to be closer to their families. They currently reside in Laramie. Chris is an instructor at the University of Wyoming. He teaches courses on Diplomacy and Negotiations through the Political Science and International Studies Departments, and Nanotechnology through the University Honors Program. Heather, now Dr. Heather Rothfuss, is a research scientist at the University and also teaches a course on DNA and Society through the UW Honors Program.
Chris enjoys fishing, hiking and camping; loves basketball and soccer despite his ability; and plays guitar, mostly for his children, who remain his biggest fans. He is an avid computer programmer and user - first learning BASIC in 1983 on his Atari, and maintaining a deep interest ever since. He loves the outdoors and has been a wilderness camp counselor, a rafting guide and a softball park manager and umpire.