Born and raised in France, Chameau received his undergraduate education from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers. He pursued graduate studies at Stanford University where he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in civil engineering in 1980 and then joined the civil engineering faculty at Purdue University, ultimately becoming head of the geotechnical engineering program.
He next moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1991 where he was appointed director of the school of civil and environmental engineering. Chameau served as president of Golder Associates, an international geotechnical consulting company, from 1994 to 1995. He returned to Georgia Tech as Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and vice provost for research. He was named dean of its college of engineering, the largest in the United States, in 1997 and then provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2001 to 2006.
Chameau’s research interests include sustainable technology, environmental geotechnology, soil dynamics, earthquake engineering and the liquefaction of soils.
Chameau has received numerous awards for his research and contributions as an educator and academic leader. These include a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Arthur Casagrande Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Rodney Chipp Memorial Award from the Society of Women Engineers, the Prix Nessim Habif from the École Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers, and the Benjamin Garver Lamme Award from the American Society for Engineering Education. In his native France, Chameau was elected Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. He is a member of both the French Académie des Technologies and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
Chameau’s industry and public service roles have included appointments to the boards of the Council on Competitiveness, John Wiley & Sons, MTS Systems, Safran, the Academic Research Council of Singapore, and the Advisory Committee of InterWest Partners.
Jean-Lou Chameau is married to Dr. Carol Carmichael, an expert in sustainability and science and technology policy. She is the former director of the Institute for Sustainable Technology and Development at the Georgia Institute of Technology.