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NASA-JPL Scientist Elected To National Academy Of Engineering

February 7, 2009

In one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to engineers and scientists, the National Academy of Engineering has elected Moustafa T. Chahine, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., as a member of its organization.

The academy elected Chahine based on his leadership in determining the structure and composition of Earth’s atmosphere from space. The organization awards those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education” and for pioneering new fields of technology, advancing the engineering field, and “implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

Chahine, the founder of JPL’s Earth and space sciences division and the lab’s chief scientist from 1984 to 2001, is one of 65 members and nine foreign associates newly elected to the Washington-based academy. He is the principal investigator for NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder, which was launched onboard the Aqua spacecraft in 2002. Aqua is part of NASA’s Earth Observing System, which studies Earth’s water cycle and energy fluxes.

Chahine’s primary interests are in the remote sensing of planetary atmospheres and surfaces, and in climate change processes. Among the remote-sensing methods he has developed is one that enables infrared remote sensing through clouds. This has been applied to the remote sensing of Earth, Venus, Mars and Jupiter. His current research activities are in transport studies of Earth’s hydrological cycle.

Chahine served as a member of NASA’s Earth system sciences committee and as chair of the World Meteorological Organization’s science steering group for the organization’s global energy and water cycle experiment from 1989 to 1999. His many honors include the William T. Pecora Award from NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior, the American Meteorological Society’s Jule G. Charney Award, and in 2007, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievements.

Chahine received his Ph.D. in 1960 from the University of California at Berkeley, the same year he joined JPL. He and his wife, Marina, live in La Canada-Flintridge and have two sons.

In addition to being a new member of the National Academy of Engineering, Chahine is a fellow in the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the American and British Meteorological Societies.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Image Caption: JPL’s Moustafa Chahine. Image credit: NASA/JPL

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