Charles F. Kennel Papers, 1989-2012 (SMC 9)

Restrictions: Original VHS recordings are restricted. Viewing copies may be available for researchers.

Extent: 3.2 Linear feet (8 archives boxes), + .25 GB of digital files

Papers of Charles F. Kennel, physicist and Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego from 1998-2006. The collection contains a small amount of correspondence and writings, and files representative of some of his high-level work with various academic and governmental organizations, including NASA.

Charles Frederick Kennel (1939- ) is a scientist, physicist, and former Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego from 1997-2006. Kennel earned an A.B. in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1959, and a PhD in Astrophysical Science from Princeton University in 1964.

In 1967, he joined the faculty of the Department of Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1996 to 1998, he served as UCLA's Executive Vice Chancellor. Over the course of his career, Kennel has published over 250 papers and articles exploring topics ranging from plasma physics, to climate change and earth science, to nonlinear science.

Kennel has collaborated extensively with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), primarily in an advisory capacity. He was a member of the Science Advisory Group from 1971 to 1972, the Space and Earth Science Advisory Committee from 1987 to 1989, and the Advisory Council since 1998. He served as Associate Administrator and Director of the Mission to Planet Earth from 1996 to 1998, and chaired the Advisory Council from 2001 to 2005.

He was appointed Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Marine Sciences at UCSD in 1997. During his nine years at SIO, he oversaw changes to graduate and undergraduate teaching, responded to state budget cuts, and introduced new collaborations and initiatives, including the Environment and Sustainability Initiative.

Kennel has served on or been affiliated with innumerable science organizations, corporate and public sector boards, and advisory committees. Among his many accolades are the inaugural Hannes Alfvén Medal from the European Geophysical Society, and the 1997 James Clerk Maxwell Prize from the American Physical Society.

Kennel published an autobiography in 2023 entitled From the Cold War to Global Warming: A Scientific Odyssey, which can be accessed on the University of California Escholarsip website:

Papers of Charles F. Kennel, physicist and Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Marine Sciences at UC San Diego from 1998-2006. The collection mostly consists of files representative of some of his high-level work with various academic and governmental organizations, including the National Academy of Science National Research Council (NAS/NAR), and the NASA Advisory Committee (NAC). There is a very small amount of original correspondence, email print-outs, and manuscripts, and the collection does include a small number of speeches and presentations. There are no teaching materials or significant administrative files relating to his administrator positions at UCLA or SIO.


UC San Diego. Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Office of the Director Records. SAC 1. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Biographical sketch and bibliographies, ca. 1998
Box 1 Folder 2
Media articles that mention Kennel, ca. 1990-2000
Box 1 Folder 3
Photographic portraits of Kennel, 2002

Includes negatives.

Digital file 3
Photographic portraits of Kennel, 2002

.TIF files.

Box 1 Folder 4
Handwritten notes, undated

Topics include IGOS, climate change, ozone, and UC San Diego.

Box 1 Folder 5
Notebook, 1997
Box 1 Folder 6
Phone log book with notes, 1993
Box 1 Folder 7
Corporate board service reports, 1996-2005


Box 2 Folder 1
Letter from school friend, George, 1956
Box 2 Folder 2
Vitaly, Mischa (USSR Space Research Institute) - Shocktrains, 1990
Box 2 Folder 3
Russell, Christopher T., 1993

UCLA professor of space physics. Includes minutes on consultations re: Russia's Mars 96 mission.

Box 2 Folder 4
European Geophysical Society - Hannes Alfvén Medal, 1997-1998
Box 2 Folder 5
Letters on Kennel's appointment as SIO director, 1997-1998

Includes letter from Barbara Boxer.

Box 2 Folder 6
San Diego Natural History Museum, 1998-1999
Box 2 Folder 7-9
Incoming correspondence, 1999-2006, 2009
Box 2 Folder 10-17
Outgoing professional correspondence, 2003

Letters of transmittal, thanks, memoranda, etc.

Box 2 Folder 18
Goddard Senior Fellows visit, 2006 March-September
Box 2 Folder 19
NASA Advisory Committee resignation, 2006


Box 2 Folder 20
American Philosophical Society, 2003-2005
Box 2 Folder 21
American Physical Society, 1998-2000

See WRITINGS AND PRESENTATIONS series for a VHS recording of Kennel speaking at the APS Centennial, "Plasma Physics in the Twentieth Century."

Box 2 Folder 22
Applied Minds, Inc., 2005
Box 2 Folder 23
California Climate Action Registry, 2001-2005
Box 2 Folder 24-27
California Colloquium, 1999-2005
Box 3 Folder 1-10
California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), 2000-2007

Includes council meeting agendas and reports.

Box 4 Folder 1-7
California Ocean Science Trust (CalOST), 2002-2005

Includes board meeting agendas and reports.

Box 4 Folder 8
Chinese Geoscience Union, 2004-2005
Box 4 Folder 9
Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea workshop, 2005
Box 4 Folder 10
Earth Observation Summit, 2003 July 31
Box 4 Folder 11
First Thursday Club, 2004-2006
Box 4 Folder 12
Geophysical Institute Advisory Board meeting, 2003
Box 4 Folder 13
International Council on Systems Engineering - Symposium International Round Table, 1997
Box 4 Folder 14
Joint Oceanographic Institutions - Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), 1998-2003

National Academy of Science/National Research Council (NAS/NAR)

Box 4 Folder 15
Correspondence, 1998-2001
Box 4 Folder 16
Science Policy Senate Forum - Presentation by Kennel on Organizing Regional and Global Change Research, 2001
Box 4 Folder 17-19
Committee on Global Change Research - Chairmanship, 1998-2000
Box 5 Folder 1-3
Board on Physics and Astrophysics (BPA), Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FuSAC), 1998-2003

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Box 5 Folder 4
NASA Group Achievement Award - Galileo Project Team, 1996-1997
Box 5 Folder 5-10
NASA Advisory Council, 2001-2003
Box 6 Folder 1
NASA Advisory Council, 2004
Box 6 Folder 2-3
NASA Columbia Accident Investigation Board, 2004

Kennel served on the independent review board that drafted, "The Pursuit of Excellence: NASA's Agency Wide Application of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) CAIB Report."

Box 6 Folder 4-7
NASA Strategic Roadmap - Earth Sciences Applications from Space, 2003-2005
Box 6 Folder 8-14
NASA correspondence, 1996-2006
Box 6 Folder 15
NASA memorabilia (stickers, patches)
Box 7 Folder 1
National Science Foundation (NSF) - NCAR and UCAR Spec Observers, 1997
Box 7 Folder 2
Satellite Oceanography Conference (CORE), 2005

Includes conference call notes and a draft paper on NASA/NOAA partnerships.

Box 7 Folder 3
Science and Technology in Society Forum, 2006

Kennel's talking points on Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Digital file 2
Workshop on Civil Space Policy. Space Studies Board and Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board - Kennel presentation slides, 2007
Box 7 Folder 4
SpaceTech Inaugural Symposium - Global change research presentation slides, 1996


Box 7 Folder 5-7
Manuscript draft - Magnetohydrodynamics, waves, and shocks, 1989-1990
Box 1 Folder 8
UCLA commencement keynote speech (VHS recording), 1995
Box 7 Folder 8
UCLA commencement speeches, 1996
Box 7 Folder 9
An integrated global observing strategy for the global environment - Aurelio Peccei Lecture, 1996
Box 7 Folder 10
Statement and presentation – Mission to Planet Earth, 1996

Includes statement before the Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives (1996 March 6). Also, includes transparent slides for Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) presentation titled "Mission to Planet Earth: Current status and future prospects" (1996 April 9).

Box 7 Folder 11
UCLA Alumni Association Support Group Leadership Conference presentation, 1996
Box 7 Folder 12-13
Manuscript draft - Convection and substorms, 1996
Box 8 Folder 1
Manuscript draft - Convection and substorms, 1996
Box 1 Folder 8
American Physical Society (APS) centennial presentation (VHS recording), 1999
Box 8 Folder 2
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science - Testimony for "Climate change: The state of science" hearing, 2001
Box 8 Folder 3
University of Alabama, Huntsville commencement address, 2003 May 11
Box 8 Folder 4
Ocean Blue - Presentation to Bohemian Club, 2003
Box 8 Folder 5
Seven years at the helm of Scripps: A personal history, 2005
Digital file 1
My years at the helm of Scripps: A personal history (PDF), 2005 January 18
Box 8 Folder 6
Biodiversity, and Earth Observations - Presentations, 2005
Box 8 Folder 7
Eugene Parker and the discovery of the solar wind, ca. 2012