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Steven Chu''Chu, Steven'' was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1986 for his contributions
in atomic physics and
laser spectroscopy Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation as a function of the wavelength or frequency of the radiation. In simpler terms, spectroscopy is the precise study of color as generalized from visible ligh ...
, including the first observation of parity non-conservation in atoms, excitation and precision spectroscopy of positronium, and the optical confinement and cooling of atoms.
(born February 28, 1948) is an American
physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at leas ...
and government official. He is a Nobel laureate and was the 12th
United States Secretary of Energy The United States secretary of energy is the head of the United States Department of Energy, a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession, presidential line of succession. The po ...
. He is currently the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of
Physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

Physics
and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. He is known for his research at the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, and his research at
Bell Laboratories Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984)) is an American industrial research and scientific development company A company, abbrev ...
and
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
regarding the cooling and trapping of atoms with laser light, for which he shared the 1997
Nobel Prize in Physics The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for mankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will ...
with
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (born 1 April 1933) is a French physicist. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics with Steven Chu and William Daniel Phillips for research in methods of laser cooling and trapping atoms. Currently he is still an active re ...
and
William Daniel Phillips William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948) is an American physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. ...
. Chu served as
United States Secretary of Energy The United States secretary of energy is the head of the United States Department of Energy, a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and fifteenth in the United States presidential line of succession, presidential line of succession. The po ...
under the administration of President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
from 2009 to 2013. At the time of his appointment as Energy Secretary, Chu was a professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, and the director of the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab, is a United States national laboratory that conducts scientific research on behalf of the Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a ...
, where his research was concerned primarily with the study of biological systems at the single molecule level. Chu resigned as energy secretary on April 22, 2013. He returned to Stanford as Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology. Chu is a vocal advocate for more research into
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
and
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nuclear physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), ...

nuclear power
, arguing that a shift away from
fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon In , a hydrocarbon is an consisting entirely of and . Hydrocarbons are examples of s. Hydrocarbons are generally colourless and hydrophobic with only weak odours. Because of their diverse molecular structure ...
s is essential to combating
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
.Sarah Jane Tribble
'Nuclear: Dark horse energy alternative,'
Oakland Tribune, 2007-06-18.
He has conceived of a global "glucose economy", a form of a
low-carbon economy A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy An economy (from Greek language, Greek οίκος – "household" and νέμoμαι – "manage") is an area of the Production (economics), produ ...
, in which
glucose Glucose is a simple with the . Glucose is the most abundant , a subcategory of s. Glucose is mainly made by and most during from water and carbon dioxide, using energy from sunlight, where it is used to make in s, the most abundant carbohydr ...

glucose
from tropical plants is shipped around like
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry Chemistry is the science, scientific study of the properties and behavior of matter. It is a natural science that covers the Chemical element, elements that make up matter to the chemical compound ...

oil
is today. On February 22, 2019, Chu began a one-year term as president of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is an American international non-profit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution ...
.


Early life and education

Chu was born in
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...

St. Louis
,
Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Missouri
, with Chinese ancestry from Liuhe,
Taicang Taicang is a county-level city A county-level municipality (), county-level city or county city, formerly known as prefecture-controlled city (1949–1970: ; 1970–1983: ), is a Administrative divisions of China#County level (3rd) ...
,
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, ...

Jiangsu
province, and graduated from Garden City High School. He received both a
B.A. Bachelor of Arts (BA or AB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through ...
in
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geometry), and quantities and their changes (cal ...
and a
B.S. A Bachelor of Science (BS, BSc, SB, or ScB; from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as L ...
in
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
in 1970 from the
University of Rochester The University of Rochester (U of R, UR, or U of Rochester) is a in . The university grants and s, including and s. The University of Rochester enrolls approximately 6,800 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. Its 158 buildings hous ...
. He went on to earn his
Ph.D. A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; or ''doctor philosophiae'') is the most common at the highest academic level awarded following a course of study. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields. Be ...
in physics from the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, under Eugene D. Commins, in 1976, during which he was supported by a
National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...

National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship. Chu comes from a family of highly educated white collar
professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowled ...
s and scholars. His father, Ju-Chin Chu, earned a
doctorate A doctorate (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...
in
chemical engineering Chemical engineering is a certain type of engineering Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline ...
from
MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, hi ...
and taught at
Washington University in St. Louis Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, or WUSTL) is a private research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher ( ...

Washington University in St. Louis
and
Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute The New York University Tandon School of Engineering (commonly referred to as Tandon) is the engineering and applied sciences school of New York University New York University (NYU) is a private research university in New York City ...
, and his mother studied
economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interact ...

economics
at MIT. His maternal grandfather, Shu-tian Li, was a hydraulic engineer who earned a Ph.D. from
Cornell University Cornell University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, and was a professor and president of Tianjin University ( Peiyang University). His mother's uncle, Li Shu-hua, a biophysicist, studied physics at the
University of Paris , image_name = Coat of arms of the University of Paris.svg , image_size = 150px , caption = , latin_name = Universitas magistrorum et scholarium Parisiensis , motto = ''Hic et ubique terrarum'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
before returning to China. Chu's older brother, Gilbert Chu, is a professor of
biochemistry Biochemistry or biological chemistry, is the study of chemical process In a scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and pr ...

biochemistry
and
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

medicine
at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. His younger brother, Morgan Chu, is a patent lawyer who is the former co-managing partner at the
law firm A law firm is a business entity formed by one or more lawyers A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate An advocate is a professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with some ...
. According to Chu, his two brothers and four cousins have four Ph.D.s, three
M.D. Doctor of Medicine (abbreviated M.D., from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
s, and a
J.D. JD or jd may refer to: Arts and entertainment * JD (film), ''JD'' (film), a 2016 Bollywood film * J.D. (Scrubs), J.D. (''Scrubs''), nickname of Dr. John Dorian, fictional protagonist of the comedy-drama ''Scrubs'' * JD Fenix, a character from t ...
among them.


Career and research

After obtaining his doctorate he remained at Berkeley as a
postdoctoral researcher A postdoctoral researcher or postdoc is a person professionally conducting research after the completion of their doctoral studies (typically a PhD A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical ...
for two years before joining
Bell Labs Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named Bell Labs Innovations (1996–2007), AT&T Bell Laboratories (1984–1996) and Bell Telephone Laboratories (1925–1984)) is an American industrial research and scientific development company A company, ab ...
, where he and his several co-workers carried out his Nobel Prize-winning
laser cooling Laser cooling and laser trapping include a number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled down to near absolute zero Absolute zero is the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature Thermodynamic temperature is the m ...
work. He left Bell Labs and became a professor of physics at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
in 1987, serving as the chair of its Physics Department from 1990 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2001. At Stanford, Chu and three others initiated the Bio-X program, which focuses on interdisciplinary research in biology and medicine, and played a key role in securing the funding for the
Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology 150px The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) is an independent joint laboratory of Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, founded in 2003 by a gift by Fred Kavli and Kavli Foundation (United S ...
. In August 2004, Chu was appointed as the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, and joined UC Berkeley's Department of Physics and Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Under Chu's leadership, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was a center of research into
biofuel Biofuel is fuel that is produced through contemporary processes from biomass, rather than by the very slow geological processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil. Since biomass technically can be used as a fuel directly (e. ...

biofuel
s and
solar energy Solar energy is Solar irradiance, radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of technologies such as solar power to generate electricity, solar thermal energy including solar water heating, and solar architecture. It ...

solar energy
. He spearheaded the laboratory's Helios project, an initiative to develop methods of harnessing solar power as a source of
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
for transportation.Chu's early research focused on atomic physics by developing
laser cooling Laser cooling and laser trapping include a number of techniques in which atomic and molecular samples are cooled down to near absolute zero Absolute zero is the lowest limit of the thermodynamic temperature Thermodynamic temperature is the m ...
techniques and the
magneto-optical trap A magneto-optical trap (MOT) is an apparatus which uses laser cooling and a spatially-varying magnetic field to create a trap which can produce samples of cold, trapped, neutral atoms. Temperatures achieved in a MOT can be as low as several microke ...
ping of atoms using
lasers A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The word "laser" is an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". Th ...

lasers
. He and his co-workers at Bell Labs developed a way to cool atoms by employing six laser beams opposed in pairs and arranged in three directions at right angles to each other. Trapping atoms with this method allows scientists to study individual atoms with great accuracy. Additionally, the technique can be used to construct an
atomic clock An atomic clock is a clock A clock or a timepiece is a device used to Measurement, measure and indicate time. The clock is one of the oldest Invention, human inventions, meeting the need to measure intervals of time shorter than the ...

atomic clock
with great precision. At Stanford, Chu's research interests expanded into
biological physics uses protein dynamics#Global flexibility: multiple domains, protein domain dynamics on Nanoscopic scale, nanoscales to walk along a microtubule. Biophysics is an interdisciplinary science that applies approaches and methods traditionally used in p ...
and
polymer physicsPolymer physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entiti ...
at the single-molecule level. He studied
enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which enzymes may act are called substrate (chemistry), substrates, and the enzyme converts the substrates in ...

enzyme
activity and using techniques like ,
atomic force microscopy Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very-high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy (SPM), with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer The nanometre (international spelling as u ...
, and
optical tweezers Optical tweezers (originally called single-beam gradient force trap) are scientific instruments that use a highly focused laser A laser is a device that emits light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the port ...
. His
polymer physicsPolymer physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entiti ...
research used individual
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five carbon rings. A molecule is an electrically Electricity is the set of physical ...

DNA
molecules to study polymer dynamics and their
phase transitions In chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in ...
. He continued researching atomic physics as well and developed new methods of laser cooling and trapping. For 2020, he is the President of the Scientific Comitee of the
ESPCI Paris ESPCI Paris (officially the École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la Ville de Paris; ''The City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution'') is a prestigious institution of higher education fo ...
.


Honors and awards

Steven Chu is a co-winner of the
Nobel Prize in Physics The Nobel Prize in Physics is a yearly award given by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for those who have made the most outstanding contributions for mankind in the field of physics. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will ...
in 1997 for the "development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light", shared with
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (born 1 April 1933) is a French physicist. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics with Steven Chu and William Daniel Phillips for research in methods of laser cooling and trapping atoms. Currently he is still an active re ...
and
William Daniel Phillips William Daniel Phillips (born November 5, 1948) is an American physicist A physicist is a scientist A scientist is a person who conducts Scientific method, scientific research to advance knowledge in an Branches of science, area of interest. ...
. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, founded 1780, (abbreviation: AAAS) is one of the oldest learned societies A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization ...

American Academy of Arts and Sciences
, the
American Philosophical Society The American Philosophical Society (APS), founded in 1743 in Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community ...
, the
Pontifical Academy of Sciences The Pontifical Academy of Sciences ( it, Pontificia accademia delle scienze, la, Pontificia Academia Scientiarum) is a scientific academy of the Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città d ...

Pontifical Academy of Sciences
and the
Academia Sinica Academia Sinica (AS, la, 1=Academia Sinica, 3=Chinese Academy; ), headquartered in Nangang, Taipei Taipei (), officially Taipei City, is the Capital city, capital and a Special municipality (Taiwan), special municipality of the Taiwan, ...
of
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
, and is a foreign member of the
Chinese Academy of Sciences The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS; ) is the national academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research ...
and the
Korean Academy of Science and Engineering The Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST) is South Korea's highest academy of science and serves as an integrated think-tank for the country's science and technology. It contributes to national development by promoting science and techno ...
. He was also awarded the
Humboldt Prize The Humboldt Prize, the Humboldt Forschungspreis in German, also known as the Humboldt Research Award, is an award given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany to internationally renowned scientists and scholars who work outside of Ge ...
by the
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Alexander is a male given name. The most prominent bearer of the name is Alexander the Great, the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Macedonia who created one of the largest empires in ancient history. Etymology Th ...
in 1995. In 1998, Chu received the Golden Plate Award of the
American Academy of Achievement The American Academy of Achievement, colloquially known as the Academy of Achievement, is an American non-profit A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a ...
. Chu received an honorary doctorate from
Boston University Boston University (BU) is a Private university, private research university in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is nonsectarian but has a historical affiliation with the United Methodist Church. It was founded in 1839 by Methodists with ...
when he was the keynote speaker at the 2007 commencement exercises. He is a Senior Fellow of the
Design Futures Council The Design Futures Council is an interdisciplinary network of design, product, and construction leaders exploring global trends, challenges, and opportunities to advance innovation and shape the future of the industry and environment. Members includ ...
. ''Diablo Magazine'' awarded him an Eco Award in its April 2009 issue, shortly after he was nominated for Energy Secretary.
Washington University in St. Louis Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, or WUSTL) is a private research university A research university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher ( ...

Washington University in St. Louis
and
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
awarded him honorary doctorates during their 2010 and 2009 commencement exercises, respectively. He was awarded an honorary degree from
Yale University Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
during its 2010 commencement. He was also awarded an honorary degree from the
Polytechnic Institute of New York University The New York University Tandon School of Engineering (commonly referred to as Tandon) is the engineering and applied sciences school of New York University. Tandon is the second oldest private engineering and technology school in the United Stat ...
, the same institution at which his father taught for several years, during its 2011 commencement.
Penn State University The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State or PSU) is a Public university, public Commonwealth System of Higher Education, state-related Land-grant university, land-grant research university with campuses and facilities throughout Pennsylvani ...
awarded him an honorary doctorate during their 2012 commencement exercises. In 2014, Chu was awarded an honorary doctorate from
Williams College Williams College is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
, during which he gave a talk moderated by Williams College Professor Protik Majumder. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from
Dartmouth College Dartmouth College ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...
during its 2015 commencement. Chu was also awarded an honorary doctorate from
Amherst College Amherst College ( ) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two ...
in 2017, where he later gave a lecture titled "Climate Change and Needed Technical Solutions for a Sustainable Future" in March 2018. Chu was elected an international fellow of the
Royal Academy of Engineering The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) is the UK's national academy#REDIRECT National academy A national academy is an organizational body, usually operating with state financial support and approval, that co-ordinates scholarly research ...
UK in 2011, and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2014. His nomination reads:


U.S. Secretary of Energy

His nomination to be Secretary of Energy was unanimously confirmed by the
U.S. Senate The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the ...
on January 20, 2009. On January 21, 2009, Chu was sworn in as Secretary of Energy in the
Barack Obama administration The presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST (17:00 UTC) on January 20, 2009, when Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the Unit ...
. Chu is the first person appointed to the U.S. Cabinet after having won a Nobel Prize. He is also the second Chinese American to be a member of the U.S.
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
, after former
Secretary of Labor A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busine ...
Elaine Chao Elaine Lan Chao (born March 26, 1953) is an American businesswoman and politician. A member of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, Chao served as United States Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Transportation in the Pre ...

Elaine Chao
.His scientific work continued, however, and he even published a paper on
gravitational redshift In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular ...
in ''
Nature Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter an ...
'' in February 2010 and another one he co-authored in July 2010. In March 2011 Chu said that regulators at the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...
should not delay approving construction licenses for planned U.S. nuclear power plants in the wake of the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a 2011 nuclear accident to human , a Japanese nuclear plant with seven units, the largest single nuclear power station in the world, was completely shut down for 21 months following an earthquake in 2007. S ...
in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
. In August 2011 Chu praised an advisory panel report on curbing the environmental risks of natural-gas development. Chu responded to the panel's report on
hydraulic fracturing Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, hydrofracking, and hydrofracturing, is a well stimulation technique involving the fracturing of bedrock Formation (geology), formations by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressur ...
, the controversial drilling method that is enabling a U.S. gas boom while bringing fears of groundwater contamination. The report called for better data collection of air and water data, as well as "rigorous" air pollution standards and mandatory disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Chu said that he would "be working closely with my colleagues in the Administration to review the recommendations and to chart a path for continued development of this vital energy resource in a safe manner". Chu faced controversy for a statement he made prior to being appointed, claiming in a September 2008 interview with the Wall Street Journal that "somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." However, in March 2012 he retracted this comment, saying "since I walked in the door as secretary of Energy I've been doing everything in my powers to do what we can to … reduce those prices" and that he "no longer shares the view hat we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America. On February 12, 2013, Chu was the
designated survivor In the United States, a designated survivor (or designated successor) is a named individual in the presidential line of succession, chosen to stay at an undisclosed secure location, away from events such as State of the Union addresses and pre ...
during the
State of the Union address The State of the Union Address (sometimes abbreviated to SOTU) is an annual message delivered by the president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United Stat ...

State of the Union address
. On February 1, 2013, Chu announced his intent to resign. In his resignation announcement, he warned of the risks of climate change from continued reliance on
fossil fuels A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and ...
, and wrote, "the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions". He resigned on April 22, 2013.


Energy and climate change

Chu has been a vocal advocate for more research into
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
and
nuclear power Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reaction In nuclear physics Nuclear physics is the field of physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), ...

nuclear power
, arguing that a shift away from
fossil fuels A fossil fuel is a hydrocarbon In organic chemistry Organic chemistry is a branch of chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and ...
is essential to combat climate change and
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
. He also spoke at the 2009 and 2011
National Science Bowl The National Science Bowl (NSB) is a high school A secondary school describes an institution that provides secondary education and also usually includes the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools provide both lower secondary edu ...
about the importance of America's science students, emphasizing their future role in
environmental planning Environmental planning is the process of facilitating decision making In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, a ...
and global initiative. Chu said that a typical
coal power A coal-fired power station or coal power plant is a thermal power station which burns coal to electricity generation, generate electricity. Coal-fired power stations generate over a third of the Electric energy consumption, world's electricity ...
plant emits 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant. Chu warns that
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
could wipe out California farms within the century. He joined the
Copenhagen Climate Council] The Copenhagen Climate Council (noSustainia is a global collaboration between international business and science founded by Erik Rasmussen founder of the leading independent think tank in ScandinaviaMonday Morning based in Copenhagen. The councilo ...
, an international collaboration between business and science established to create momentum for the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in
Copenhagen Copenhagen ( da, København ) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. As of 1 January 2021, the city had a population of 799,033 (638,117 in Copenhagen Municipality, 103,677 in Frederiksberg Municipality, 42,670 in Tårnby Municipal ...

Copenhagen
,
Denmark Denmark ( da, Danmark, ) is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), hu ...

Denmark
. In 2015, Chu signed the '' Mainau Declaration 2015 on Climate Change'' on the final day of the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting. The declaration was signed by a total of 76 Nobel Laureates and handed to then-President of the French Republic,
François Hollande François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande (; born 12 August 1954) is a French politician who served as president of France The president of France, officially the President of the French Republic (french: Président de la République fran ...

François Hollande
, as part of the successful COP21 climate summit in Paris. Chu was instrumental in submitting a winning bid for the
Energy Biosciences Institute The Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) is an organization dedicated to developing new sources of energy and reducing the impact of energy consumption Energy consumption is the amount of energy or power used. Biology In the body, energy consumpt ...
, a -funded $500 million multidisciplinary collaboration between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and the
University of Illinois The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, or colloquially the University of Illinois or UIUC) is a public university, public land-grant university, land-grant research university in Illinois in the twin cities of Champaign ...
. This sparked controversy on the Berkeley campus, where some fear the alliance could harm the school's reputation for academic integrity. Based partially on his research at UC Berkeley, Chu has speculated that a global "glucose economy", a form of a
low-carbon economy A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy An economy (from Greek language, Greek οίκος – "household" and νέμoμαι – "manage") is an area of the Production (economics), produ ...
, could replace the current system. In the future, special varieties of high-
glucose Glucose is a simple with the . Glucose is the most abundant , a subcategory of s. Glucose is mainly made by and most during from water and carbon dioxide, using energy from sunlight, where it is used to make in s, the most abundant carbohydr ...

glucose
plants would be grown in the
tropics The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% ...

tropics
, processed, and then the chemical would be shipped around like to other countries. ''The St. Petersburg Times'' has stated that Chu's concept "shows vision on the scale needed to deal with global warming". Chu has also advocated making the roofs of buildings and the tops of roads around the world white or other light colors, which may reflect sunlight back into space and mitigate global warming. The effect would be, according to Chu, similar to taking every car in the world off the roads for about 11 years. Samuel Thernstrom, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-director of its climate engineering, Geoengineering Project, expressed support for the idea in ''The American (magazine), The American'', praising Chu for "do[ing] the nation a service" with the concept. Chu is on the board of directors of Xyleco, a company developing alternate energy.


Personal life

In 1997, he married Jean Fetter, a British-American University of Oxford, Oxford-trained physicist. He has two sons, Geoffrey and Michael, from a previous marriage to Lisa Chu-Thielbar. Chu is interested in sports such as baseball, swimming (sport), swimming, and cycling. He taught himself tennis—by reading a book—in the eighth grade, and was a second-string substitute for the school team for three years. He also taught himself how to pole vault using bamboo poles obtained from the local carpet store. Chu said he never learned to speak Chinese language, Chinese because his parents always spoke to their children in English language, English.


See also

* United States Department of Energy * Timeline of low-temperature technology * Energy policy of the United States *
University of Rochester The University of Rochester (U of R, UR, or U of Rochester) is a in . The university grants and s, including and s. The University of Rochester enrolls approximately 6,800 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students. Its 158 buildings hous ...
* List of Nobel Laureates affiliated with the University of Rochester


References


External links


Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
at United States Department of Energy *
Bio
from
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), commonly referred to as Berkeley Lab, is a United States national laboratory that conducts scientific research on behalf of the Department of EnergyA Ministry of Energy or Department of Energy is a ...
*
BP Makes Berkeley World Center for Biofuels
press release on the BP collaboration February 16, 2007 *
Alternative Energy Sources
March 28, 2005, Chu's PowerPoint presentation
Boulder’s physicists give Chu thumbs-up
Article on other Nobel laureates' reactions to Chu as Secretary of Energy
UCTV Programs with Steven Chu
*
Physics Meets Biology
*
Berkeley's Nobel Tradition
*
Holding on to Atoms and Molecules with Lasers: Laser Cooling – From Atomic Clocks to Watching Biomolecules Move
*
What Can Physics Say About Life?
*
Conversations with History: A Scientist's Random Walk, with Steven Chu


an

from
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
Department of Physics *
Steven Chu: Uncovering the secret life of molecules
from ''Stanford [Online] Report'' (July 16, 1997)
Chu's biophysics research group
at
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
*
Growing energy: Berkeley Lab's Steve Chu on what termite guts have to do with global warming
from ''UC Berkeley News'' (September 30, 2005) * March 12, 2008

Interview with Steve Chu at ''Copenhagen Climate Council'', November 3, 2008. * * * * * *

April 19, 2009
"Weird Little Bacteria" in Our Energy Future
by Steven Chu on April 16, 2012 Scientific American * {{DEFAULTSORT:Chu, Steven 1948 births 21st-century American physicists 21st-century American politicians American Nobel laureates American politicians of Chinese descent American science writers American writers of Chinese descent Chinese-American members of the Cabinet of the United States Climate activists Experimental physicists Fellows of the American Physical Society Fellows of the Optical Society Foreign members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Foreign Members of the Royal Society Garden City High School (New York) alumni Han Chinese Nobel laureates Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Physics Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Living people Members of Academia Sinica Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences Missouri Democrats Asian-American people in Missouri politics Nobel laureates affiliated with Missouri Nobel laureates in Physics Obama administration cabinet members Optical physicists People from Garden City, New York Physicists from Missouri Politicians from St. Louis Scientists at Bell Labs Scientists from Missouri Scientists from New York (state) Scientists from St. Louis Stanford University Department of Physics faculty Sustainability advocates United States Secretaries of Energy UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science alumni University of California, Berkeley College of Letters and Science faculty University of Rochester alumni Writers from St. Louis Members of the American Philosophical Society