Professor Charles F Kennel

Director and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at University of California San Diego


Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Science and Policy

Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Christ's College

Director Emeritus, Vice-Chancellor, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego

CSaP's inaugural Visiting Research Fellow, 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.

Kennel was a member of the National Science and Technology Council and the international Committee on Earth Observation Satellites while at NASA. He has chaired the US National Academy’s Board on Physics and Astronomy and Committee on Global Change Research. He has served a total of 12 years on the NASA Advisory Council, chairing it from 2000-2005, and was a member of the Presidential (“Augustine”) Commission on human space flight in 2009. Kennel remains on the NASA Advisory Council and has chaired the Space Studies Board of the US National Academy of Sciences since 2008. For the State of California, Kennel was a member of the founding board of the California Climate Action Registry, the first chairman of the California Ocean Sciences Trust, and now chairs the California Council on Science and Technology.

During winter terms 2007, 2010, and from 2012 to 2016, he has been a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He had University visiting appointments with the Cambridge Department of Engineering in 2007, with the Centre for Energy Studies of the Judge Business School in 2010, and now with the Centre for Science and Policy. With Professor Paul Linden of DAMTP, he co-led a team working with the Venice Gates project on sustainable management of the Venice lagoon.

For slides and recordings of Professor Kennel's 2014 Lecture series on 'Adaptation to Climate Change' click here.

For recordings of the 2015 seminar series on 'Climate and Sustainability in Multiple Dimensions' click here.
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    In our final seminar of the 2016 Climate Change series, we heard from a panel of experts on what Cambridge could do to drive progress in sustainable living and combatting climate change.

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    Magical thinking; the way towards a more sustainable future?

    The third of our 2016 series of climate seminars included talks from Dr Richard Fraser and Professor Paul Linden. Recordings of the first two seminars in the series may be found here (4 Feb) and here (11 Feb).