December 11, 2008

Nobel Laureate Physicist Steve Chu To Be Named Next U.S. Energy Secretary

APS Lauds President-Elect Obama’s Choice of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director, World Energy Research Leader

steven chu photographed by Roy Kaltschmidt/LBNL

Steven Chu, Director of LBNL

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — The American Physical Society (APS) is elated that President-Elect Obama plans to nominate Nobel Laureate Steve Chu, a world leader in alternative and renewable energy research and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory director, as the next U.S. Energy Secretary.

"Dr. Chu is a man of great intellect whose scientific accomplishments make him an outstanding selection for U.S. Energy Secretary. As the Obama administration develops its energy policy, Dr. Chu will undoubtedly serve as an effective leader, striving to strengthen U.S. energy security and tackle the devastating effects of global warming," said APS President Arthur Bienenstock.

Chu was the recipient of two prestigious APS prizes, the Herbert P. Broida in 1987 and Arthur L. Schawlow in 1994, for his extraordinary work of developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. In 1997 while at Stanford University, Chu was one of three scientists to win the Nobel Prize in physics for that same work. Since 2004, he has served as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which has 4,000 employees and a budget of $650 million.

Under his leadership, the lab has been a center of research into biofuels and solar energy technologies. A lifetime member and fellow of APS, Chu has been a staunch advocate of energy efficiency and alternative energy research, stating that the U.S. should rid its dependence on foreign oil to combat global warming.

He was also the driving force behind the development of the Energy Biosciences Institute, a $500 million pact between BP, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois. Additionally, he was leading organizer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute, one of three Bioenergy Research Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.


About APS

The American Physical Society ( is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. APS represents over 51,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world. Society offices are located in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

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