Stephan Mueller, professor emeritus at the Institute of Geophysics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and highly respected leader of international geoscience, died February 17, 1997. His untimely death, due to pneumonia following intestinal surgery, came just 18 months after his retirement from the ETH Chair of Geophysics and Directorship of the Swiss Seismological Service. He is survived by his wife, Doris, two sons, and six grandchildren.
Mueller received a diploma in physics at the University of Stuttgart in 1957 and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Columbia University in New York in 1959. As an undergraduate at Stuttgart, he was influenced by seismologist Wilhelm Hillerand geophysics quickly became his major academic and career objective. After receiving a 1954–1955 German Academic Interchange Scholarship at Columbia, Mueller sought out Maurice Ewing and his group at Lamont Geological Observatory, where Mueller's enthusiasm for geophysics was strongly encouraged. While at Lamont, he participated in the first U.S. deep-sea geophysical expedition in the Mediterranean Sea during the summer of 1956 aboard the RV Vema.