Farouk El-Baz is a Member of the Advisory Council of Scientists and Technologists of President Sisi of Egypt. From 1986 to 2018 he served as Research Professor and Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University.
His career began in 1958 with a B.S. in chemistry and geology from Ain Shams University and he was a TA in 1958–1960 at Asyut University, both in Egypt. He later received an M.S. in 1961 and a Ph.D. in 1964 (University of Missouri and MIT), taught mineralogy at Heidelberg University (1964–1965) and worked in Egypt’s oil industry (1966).
Starting in 1967, and for six years he participated in the Apollo program as secretary of lunar landing site selection, and chair of astronaut training in visual observations and photography. In 1973–1982 he established and directed the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and served as Science Advisor to the late President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. He was Vice President for Science and Technology at Itek Optical Systems from 1982 until he joined Boston University in 1986.
He is the recipient of eight honorary doctoral degrees and chaired the U.S. National Committee for Geological Sciences. His awards include: Egypt’s Order of Merit–First Class, NASA’s Apollo Achievement Award, the Apollo Achievement Medal and Certificate of Contribution to Manned Space Flight, Golden Door Award of the International Institute of Boston, the Nevada Medal, Pioneer Award of Arab Thought Foundation, Human Needs Award of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and the Award of Public Understanding of Science and Technology of the AAAS.
He is a fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World and represents it at the United Nations. He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Royal Astronomical Society, African Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Moroccan Academy of Science and Technology. He served on the boards of the Library of Alexandria (Egypt), U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), and the World Affairs Council, RAND–Qatar Policy Institute. He served as Chairman of the Charles Stark Draper Award of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and is a member of its committee on the Grand Challenges for Engineering.