Farouk El-Baz to Chair National Academies Committee on Imaging Science

Contact: Kira Jastive, 617-358-1240 | kjastive@bu.edu

(Boston) – Professor Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing and Research Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Boston University, was appointed chair of the steering committee of the 2010 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) on imaging science.

The letter appointing Dr. El-Baz was signed by the three academy presidents: Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences; Charles Vest, President of the National Academy of Engineering; and Harvey Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine.

The topic of the 2010 initiative is imaging science in its various applications, including biomedical and environmental monitoring. Dr. El-Baz will take the lead in organizing a national conference – which will take place November 17-19, 2010 – and related activities, including awarding up to $1 in NAKFI seed grants to individuals who are invited to attend the November conference.

Launched in 2003 by the National Academies and the W.M. Keck Foundation, the Futures Initiative is a 15-year effort to stimulate interdisciplinary inquiry and to enhance communication among researchers, funding agencies, universities, and the general public. The initiative builds on three pillars of vital and sustained research: interdisciplinary encounters that counterbalance specialization and isolation; exploration of new questions; and bridging languages, cultures, habits of thought, and institutions through communication. For more information on the Futures Initiative, visit www.keckfutures.org.

Dr. El-Baz, a veteran of NASA’s Apollo program of lunar exploration, is a pioneer in applying space imaging in the fields of geology, geography and archaeology. He is particularly noted for research on desert landforms and the location of groundwater resources in arid lands. Under his direction, the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing was selected in 1997 by NASA as a “Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing.”

The National Academies comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. For more information, visit www.national-academies.org.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.