October 20, 2011
PASADENA, Calif. - Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has been honored by the National Academy of Engineering for "extraordinary impact through work in the engineering profession."
Elachi received the Arthur M. Bueche Award during the academy's annual meeting in Washington on Oct. 16, for his leadership of JPL and for developments in space-borne radar, which gives more detailed surface and subsurface views of Earth, Venus and Titan.
"This award is deeply meaningful to me, as it comes from an organization that has some of the most outstanding engineers in the country," Elachi said.
The academy cites Elachi, a member of the organization, for "innovations in planetary remote sensing science and technology, and distinguished leadership in creating government, university and industry partnerships and space technology policies."
He is known as a pioneer in space-borne radar. Among his numerous accomplishments was his role in using space shuttle radar imaging to find the "lost city of Ubar," an ancient trade route stop that had been buried by the sands of time.
Elachi has been JPL director since 2001, when he was also appointed vice president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. Elachi has taught at Caltech since 1982. He holds several patents, has authored more than 200 publications, and has served on several national and international advisory committees.
Among his numerous honors, Elachi was recently inducted into the French Legion, and was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
At the National Academy of Engineering awards ceremony, the academy also presented its Founders Award to David Atlas, retired from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and previously a visiting scientist at JPL for developments in radar technology used in weather-tracking.
More information about the National Academy of Engineering awards is online at: http://www.nae.edu/Activities/MediaRoom/20095/47768/53011.aspx . A full bio of Charles Elachi is at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/about/bio_elachi.cfm .
Jane Platt 818-354-0880
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.