Director and Distinguished Professor, Emeritus
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California">
Charles F. Kennel was educated in astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard and Princeton. He joined the UCLA Department of Physics in 1967 and the UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics in 1971. He undertook research and teaching in space plasma physics and astrophysics, and chaired the Physics Department from 1983 to 1986. On leave from UCLA from 1994 to 1996, he was Associate Administrator at NASA for Mission to Planet Earth, the world's largest earth science program. He was the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor, its chief academic officer, from 1996 to 1998.
Kennel became the ninth Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, in 1998, stepping down in late 2006. In 2005, Kennel founded the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative, embracing teaching, research, campus operations, and public outreach, and is now a member of the Sustainability Solutions Institute created by the Initiative.
Kennel presently chairs the California Council on Science and Technology and the National Academies’ Space Studies Board, and is an ex officio member of the NASA Advisory Council. He is a member of the NCAR Advisory Committee. He is on the boards of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences and the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the CalTech Board of Trustees’ Visiting Committee for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Advisory Board of the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska. In previous years, Kennel chaired the NRC Board on Physics and Astronomy as well as chairing the NRC Committees on Solar and Space Physics, Plasma Science, Global Change Research, and Fusion Sciences. He was a member of the Pew Oceans Commission (2000-2003) and the NASA Advisory Council (1998-2006), chairing it from 2001-2005. In 2007, he co-chaired the NRC “Beyond Einstein” Committee that advised NASA on its next cosmology mission.
Kennel is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. He has been a Fairchild Professor at CalTech, a Sloan, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellow, and was the 2007 C.P. Snow Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. He has had visiting appointments to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (Trieste), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Ecole Polytechnique (Paris), Space Research Institute (INPE, Brazil), Caltech Department of Astronomy, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Space Research Institute (Moscow), and Christ’s College, Cambridge. He is a recipient of the James Clerk Maxwell Prize (American Physical Society), the first Hannes Alfven Prize (European Geophysical Union), the Aurelio Peccei Prize (Accademia Lincei, Rome), and the NASA Distinguished Service and Distinguished Public Service Awards.