Mitchell Small-Civil and Environmental Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Mitchell Small

H. John Heinz Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering & Engineering and Public Policy

Civil & Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Office: 123D Porter Hall
Phone: 412-268-8782
Fax: 412-268-7813


Mitchell Small is the H. John Heinz III Professor of Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).  Small’s research involves mathematical modeling of environmental systems, environmental statistics, risk assessment, and decision support. Current projects include the design and evaluation of leak detection at geologic CO2 sequestration sites and shale gas extraction wells; the value of scientific information for conflict resolution among stakeholders with different values and beliefs; and the development of decision support tools for water, energy and ecosystem management.  He has published over 200 manuscripts in peer reviewed journals (160), books and conference proceedings.  

Small has served as a member of the US EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) and has been a member of a number of US National Research Council (NRC) committees, most recently as chair of the NRC Committee on Risk Management and Governance Issues in Shale Gas Extraction.  He is a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis and served as an associate editor for the journal Environmental Science & Technology (1995 – 2011), where he helped to initiate the policy analysis section of the journal.

Joint Appointment: EPP
Research Group: EESS 



PhD 1982 - University of Michigan
MS 1979 - University of Michigan
BS 1975 - Carnegie Mellon University

Research Interests

  • Mathematical modeling of environmental quality
  • Statistical methods and uncertainty analysis
  • Value of information for decision support
  • Climate, water and energy scenario analysis
  • CO2 storage and shale gas risk assessment
  • Human risk perception and decision making

Selected Publications

  • Hughes, A. S., VanBriesen, J. M. and Small, M. J. (2015). "Impacts of PCB analytical interpretation uncertainties on dechlorination assessment and remedial decisions", Chemosphere, 133, 61-67.
  • Popova, O. H., Small, M. J., McCoy, S. T., Thomas, A. C., Rose, S., Karimi, B., Carter, K. and Goodman, A. (2014). "Spatial stochastic modeling of sedimentary formations to assess CO2 storage potential". Environmental Science & Technology. 48(11), 6247–6255.
  • Stern, P. C., Webler, T., and Small, M. J. (2014). "Special issue: Understanding the risks of unconventional shale gas development", Environmental Science & Technology, 48(15), 8287-828.
  • Small, M. J., Stern, P. C., Bomberg, E., Christopherson, S. M., Goldstein, B. D., Israel, A. L., Jackson, R.B., Krupnick, A., Mauter, M. S., Nash, J., North, D. W., Olmstead, S. M. Prakash, A., Rabe, B., Richardson, N., Tierney, S., Webler, T., Wong-Parodi, G. and Zielinska, B. (2014). "Risks and risk governance in unconventional shale gas development". Environmental Science & Technology, 48(15), 8289-8297.
  • Small, M. J., Güvenç, Ü. and DeKay, M. L. (2014). "When can scientific studies promote consensus among conflicting stakeholders?" Risk Analysis. DOI: 10.1111/risa.1223.
  • Yang, Y-M., Small, M.J., Ogretim, E.O., Gray, D.O., Donald, Wells, A.W., Strazisar, B.R., and Bromhal, G.S. (2012) “A Bayesian Belief Network for combining evidence from multiple CO2 leak detection technologies,” Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 2(3): 185-199.
  • Ramaswami, A., Milford, J.A., and Small, M.J (2005) “Integrated Environmental Modeling: Pollutant Transport, Fate and Risk in the Environment,” John Wiley & Sons, New York.

Recent Awards

  • 2017: awarded the Barbara Lazarus Award for Graduate Student and Junior Faculty Mentoring from Carnegie Mellon University