American University of Beirut

Charles Elachi

Dr. Elachi’s career has been dedicated to understanding the mysteries and the vastness of space. He holds multiple diplomas including a doctorate in electrical sciences and master’s degrees in electrical sciences, engineering, geology, and business. Elachi joined the JPL in 1970, and was appointed its director in 2001. Under his leadership, JPL has led some of NASA’s most high profile space research and exploration initiatives. These include the Mars Rovers, highly engineered robotic exploration devices that are probing the planet’s surface to understand its history and composition. Some of his research relating to astrophysics has resulted in the technology behind global positioning systems and mobile phone technology. He is the author of more than 230 publications and holds several patents in active microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic theory. He was awarded France’s highest honor bestowed upon foreigners, the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 2010 and received the National Academy of Engineering Arthur M. Bueche Award, the Space Foundation J.E. Hill Lifetime Space Achievement Award, and Lebanon’s Order of the Cedar. Elachi also holds the positions of Vice President of the California Institute of Technology and professor of electrical engineering and planetary science.

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