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Charles F. Kennel was educated in astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard and Princeton. He joined the UCLA Department of Physics and eventually became the UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor, its chief academic officer. From 1994 to 1996, Kennel was Associate Administrator at NASA in charge of Mission to Planet Earth, the world's largest Earth science program. He later became the ninth Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor of Marine Sciences at the University of California, San Diego, serving from 1998 to 2006. Dr. Kennel was the founding director of the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative, and the 2007 C.P. Snow Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. He presently co-directs a UCSD/Cambridge project on the sustainable management of the historical city of Venice and its Lagoon. 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, Kennel has served on many national and international boards and committees, including the Pew Oceans Commission; he has chaired the National Academy's Board on Physics and Astronomy, and committees on global change research and controlled fusion research. He presently chairs the Space Studies Board of the US National Academy of Sciences, and is an ex officio member of the NASA Advisory Council.