Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Elachi, Charles, 1947- (Electrical Engineer)



  • Existence: 1947-04-18


Background: Caltech Research Fellow, 1971-1973; Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, 1982-1988; Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and Planetary Science, 1988-2001; Professor, 2002-present. Vice-President and Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2001-present. Caltech alumnus (MS, 1969; PhD 1971).
Biographical/Historical Description: Charles Elachi was born and grew up in Lebanon. He won a full scholarship to study at the University of Grenoble (France), where he received a bachelor's degree in physics, 1968, and at the National Polytechnic Institute in Grenoble, where he completed his Diplome Ingenieur, also in 1968. He came to Caltech for graduate school in 1968. He also holds a master's degree (1983) in geology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MBA (1979) from the University of Southern California.

Following his early interests in space, Elachi joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in 1971 to work on the radar mapping of Venus. Since then he 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. 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. Elachi became JPL's director in 2001. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1989 and is the recipient of many awards and honors.
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral history, 2005. A 157-page interview in three sessions conducted by A. Blaine Baggett and Erik M. Conway at Caltech. The interview iincludes some early biographical material but focuses largely on Elachi's association with and eventual tenure as director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena.

Found in 12 Collections and/or Records:

Airtalk: The Caltech Edition

Identifier: 1991-00056

Airtalk: The Caltech Edition

Identifier: 1991-00057

AirTalk with Charles Elachi

 Digital Record
Identifier: 2018-02-01-000017

AirTalk with Charles Elachi, 1991-08-21

Scope and Contents From the Collection: The collection is divided according to the recording type: audio and video then ordered chronologically. Each recording includes an interview with either Caltech faculty, administrators, staff, students, alumni, JPL scientists or administrators. It also includes features such as Caltech Almanac -a detailed look at some of the many interesting people, places and discoveries in Caltech’s history-, Caltech Calendar -a listing of upcoming public events on campus- and Caltech in the News....
Dates: 1991-08-21

Science and Society Conference

Identifier: 2016-00037