Woodrow Wilson News & Publications
FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, January 21, 2009
CONTACT: Beverly Sanford
Vice President for Communications
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WOODROW WILSON FELLOW, NOBELIST, CONFIRMED AS OBAMA ENERGY SECRETARY
PRINCETON, N.J.—President Barack Obama’s candidate for secretary of energy, Nobel laureate Steven Chu WF '70, has been confirmed by the United States Senate. Dr. Chu’s nomination for the position was announced in mid-December.
Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since August 2004, Dr. Chu has led interdisciplinary research into alternative and renewable energy sources, in particular the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.
In 1997, Dr. Chu was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics—which he shared with another 1970 Woodrow Wilson Fellow, William D. Phillips of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of France—for the creation of a technique that uses laser light to trap and cool atoms.
Before his appointment as director of the Berkeley Lab, Dr. Chu was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University, where he’d been a faculty member since 1987 and twice chaired the Department of Physics. In addition, Dr. Chu served on several key campuswide committees, and helped create a cross-disciplinary initiative in the physical and biological sciences, as well as a new astrophysics lab. Prior to his tenure at Stanford, he headed the quantum electronics research department within AT&T Bell Labs’ Electronics Research Laboratory.
Raised in Garden City, New York as the son of an engineering professor, Dr. Chu credits “two talented and dedicated teachers” at Garden City High School for his interest in physics and mathematics. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Rochester, then completed the Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
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The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation identifies and develops the best minds for the nation’s most important challenges. In these areas of challenge, the Foundation awards fellowships to enrich human resources, works to improve public policy, and assists organizations and institutions in enhancing practice in the U.S. and abroad.