Prof. Charles Elachi

Charles Elachi obtained a bachelor’s degree in physics from Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, in 1968, followed by a first master’s degree in engineering from the Grenoble Institute of Technology in the same year. He pursued further education, earning a second master’s degree and a doctorate in electrical sciences from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in 1969 and 1971 respectively. Additionally, he acquired a master’s degree in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1983, and completed an MBA at the University of Southern California in 1979. From 2001 to 2016 he was the 8th director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president of Caltech. Currently Charles works as a professor (emeritus) of electrical engineering and planetary science at the California Institute of Technology.

Elachi possesses extensive experience and a keen interest in utilizing spaceborne active microwave instruments for remote sensing of planetary surfaces, including spheres and subsurfaces. His expertise extends to the analysis and interpretation of radar imagery of various planetary surfaces, with a focus on Earth. Furthermore, he has a deep understanding of electromagnetic theory and wave propagation in space environments. Additionally, Elachi has actively contributed to space exploration policy development.

Dr. Elachi has been honored with numerous awards, including the Takeda Award, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Wernher Von Braun Award, the UCLA Department of Earth and Space Science Distinguished Alumni Award, the Dryden Award, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the COSPAR Nordberg Medal, the Nevada Medal, the IEEE Medal of Engineering Excellence, the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Distinguished Achievement Award, the W.T. Pecora Award, the NASA Exceptional Scientific Medal, and the ASP Autometric Award.

Photo source: International Astronaut Federation

Moderator: Jonas Žmuidzinas