Leading space scientist and Director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Dr. Charles Elachi, was elected to the Lebanese Academy of Sciences on March 25, 2009 by the ASL Founding Members.
Dr. Elachi is one the most distinguished space scientists in the world today, and one of NASA's most successful leaders of the past two decades having led NASA-JPL, since 2001, during its most successful period of Mars exploration and spectacular robotic missions to asteroids, comets and the outer planets.
His scholarly accomplishments are manifested in more than 200 publications, and seven books he authored or edited, including his classic textbook "Introduction to the Physics and Techniques of Remote Sensing" that is the standard textbook in remote sensing. His list of honors includes some of the most prestigious awards in the field of space science and engineering. He was one of the youngest members ever elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and one of the very few to receive both NASA's Outstanding Leadership Medal and the agency's Scientific Achievement Medal after thirty of years scientific work at JPL.
His other awards and honors include being selected as one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report (2006), receiving Lebanon's Order of Cedars (2006), and being elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He is widely known for having discovered lost cities and buried ancient trading routes in the Arabian Peninsula and the Western Chinese Desert through novel remote sensing techniques he developed for the space shuttle. Asteroid 1982 SU was renamed "4116 Elachi" in his honor.
He leads a team of 5000 people at JPL, which is the NASA center in charge of all US robotic exploration missions to outer space. He also has been serving as Vice President of Caltech where he also teaches physics of remote sensing.
Dr. Elachi is a Lebanese-American who was born and raised in Lebanon. Following a highly celebrated 4-day visit to Lebanon in 2006, during which he gave a series of public lectures, and media interviews, was honored by the President of the Republic and witnessed his portrait on billboards over the nation's highways, he has become a source of inspiration to many young Lebanese interested in the sciences.