Charles Asshur Al-Wadad Elachi
(شﺇﺅﹷﺙﹿﭖژارل عشي, born April 18
) is the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(JPL), located in Pasadena, California
. He has held this position since May 1
and also holds professorships in electrical engineering and planetary science at Caltech
Early life and education
Elachi is the director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president of the California Institute of Technology. Elachi received a bachelor's degree (1968) in physics from University of Grenoble, France; the Diplome Ingenieur (1968) in engineering from the Polytechnic Institute, Grenoble; and a master's degree (1969) and doctorate (1971) in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He also has a master's degree (1983) in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California. He joined JPL in 1970. He is professor of electrical engineering and planetary science at Caltech.
Elachi has been a principal investigator on a number of research and development studies and flight projects sponsored by NASA. These include the Shuttle Imaging Radar series (science team leader), the Magellan imaging radar at Venus (team member), and the Cassini Titan radar (team leader). He is author of more than 230 publications in the fields of active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory, and holds several patents in those fields. He taught the physics of remote sensing at Caltech from 1982 to 2001.
As JPL's director for space and Earth science programs 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, Elachi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering 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.
His numerous awards have included being honored as one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report (2006), in collaboration with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Royal Society of London's Massey Award (2006), Lebanon's Order of Cedars (2006), the American Task Force for Lebanon's Philip Habib Award for Distinguished Public Service (2006), the American Astronautical Society's Space Flight Award (2005), the National Defense Industrial Association
's Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award (2005), NASA Exceptional Service Medal (2005), NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal (2004, 2002, 1994), NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (1982), NASA Distinguished Service Medal (1999), the Takeda Award (2002), the Wernher von Braun Award (2002), Dryden Award (2000), the Committee on Space Research's Nordberg Medal (1996), the Nevada Medal (1995), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Medal of Engineering Excellence (1992) and Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award (1987), the W. T. Pecora Award (1985), and the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing's Autometric Award (1980 and 1982). He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the International Academy of Astronautics.