Charles F. Kennel is Distinguished Professor, Vice-Chancellor, and Director emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
He was educated in astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard and Princeton. After a post-doctoral year at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, he joined UCLA’s Department of Physics and its Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics. There he pursued research and teaching in theoretical space plasma physics and astrophysics, eventually chairing the Physics Department. He served as UCLA’s Executive Vice Chancellor, its chief academic officer, from 1996 to 1998.
From 1994 to 1996, Kennel was Associate Administrator at NASA and Director of Mission to Planet Earth, a global Earth science satellite program. Kennel’s experiences at NASA influenced him to go into Earth and climate science, and he became the ninth Director and Dean of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, serving from 1998 to 2006. He was the founding director of the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative.