Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Vice President, California Institute of Technology
Dr. Charles Elachi is the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Vice President of the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Elachi received the B.Sc. ('68) in Physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Dipl. Ing. ('68) in Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble and the M.Sc. ('69) and Ph.D. ('71) degrees in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He also has a M.Sc. ('83) degree in Geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA ('79) from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He joined JPL in 1970. He is the Professor of Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science at Caltech.
He has been a principal investigator on a number of research and development studies and flight projects sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. These include the Shuttle Imaging Radar series (Science Team Leader), the Magellan Imaging Radar (Team Member), and the Cassini Titan Radar (Team Leader). He is the author of over 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and he holds several patents in those fields. He taught "physics of remote sensing" at the California Institute of Technology from 1982 to 2001.
"Science and Technology open to all of us the wonders of the world around us, and are the foundation of our economic leadership and standard of living. California has been and must stay at the forefront of scientific and technological innovation and lead in bringing the wonders of the world to all of us."
As the Director for Space and Earth Science Programs at JPL from 1982 to 2000, he was responsible for the development of numerous flight missions and instruments for Earth observation, planetary exploration, and astrophysics.
In 1988, the Los Angeles Times selected him as one of "Southern California's rising stars who will make a difference in L.A." In 1989, Asteroid 1982 SU was renamed 4116 Elachi in recognition of his contribution to planetary exploration.
In 1989, Dr. Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering; he serves as a councillor and has served on a number of academy committees.
He has chaired a number of strategic planning committees for NASA. He has lectured in more than 20 countries about space exploration and Earth observation. He participated in a number of archeological expeditions in Egypt, Oman, and China.
Dr. Elachi has received numerous awards, including the America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (2006), the Royal Society of London Massey Award (2006), the Lebanon Order of Cedars (2006), the Philip Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service (2006), the American Astronautical Society Space Flight Award (2005), Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award (2005), NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2005), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), the Takeda Award (2002), the Wernher Von Braun Award (2002), Dryden Award (2000), the NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1999), the COSPAR Nordberg Medal (1996), the Nevada Medal (1995), the IEEE Medal of Engineering Excellence (1992), the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1987), the W.T. Pecora Award (1985), the NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1982), and the ASP Autometric Award (1980 and 1982). He is a fellow of the IEEE and AIAA and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics.