Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Charles F. Kennel was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was educated in astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard and Princeton. He then joined the UCLA Department of Physics, developed a research career in space plasma physics and astrophysics, and chaired the department for three years. He eventually became the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor, its chief academic officer. From 1994 to 1996, he was Associate Administrator at NASA and Director of Mission to Planet Earth, the world’s largest Earth science program. His experiences at NASA convinced him to devote the rest of his career to Earth and environmental science.
Kennel was the ninth Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, from 1998 to 2006. Dr. Kennel now directs the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative, embracing teaching, research, campus operations, and public outreach, and is a distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences at Scripps.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, Kennel has served on many national and international boards and committees, including the Pew Oceans Commission, and he chaired the NASA Advisory Council. He has had visiting appointments to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste), Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), Caltech (Pasadena), Princeton, Space Research Institute (Moscow), and the University of Cambridge. He is a recipient of the James Clerk Maxwell Prize (American Physical Society), the Hannes Alfven Prize (European Geophysical Society), the Aurelio Peccei Prize (Accademia Lincei), and the NASA Distinguished Service and Distinguished Public Service Awards.