Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri
Notable Accomplishments: 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, Secretary of Energy 2009 to 2013
- Physics Department Chair, 1990 - 1993
- Physics Department Chair, 1999 - 2001
- Co-founder of Bio-X interdisciplinary biology/medicine research program
- Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2004 - 2009
U.S. Secretary of Energy:
Steven Chu served as the U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. He released a letter announcing his decision not to serve a second term on February 1, 2013. Though these letters are fairly standard, Chu's was notable in that it was a fairly lengthy review of his time at the Department of Energy, rather than purely a formal notification of his intention.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory, so Chu had some contact with the Department of Energy in his capacity as its Director. Under his leadership, the laboratory did extensive research into alternative forms of power production, such as by using biofuels and solar power. This background made him a natural choice for Barack Obama to choose to fill the Cabinet-level position to guide America's energy policy.
I’ve always been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, who articulated his Dream of an America where people are judged not by skin color but “by the content of their character.” In the scientific world, people are judged by the content of their ideas. Advances are made with new insights, but the final arbitrator of any point of view are experiments that seek the unbiased truth, not information cherry picked to support a particular point of view. The power of our work is derived from this foundation....
I have worked each day to move the Department in a direction where the political leadership and highest levels of career managers have the intellectual curiosity and wisdom to learn from the people who reported to them and where the subject matter experts – which should include managers at the highest levels – as well as employees at our national laboratories welcome their counsel and help. I grew up and matured in organizations where a graduate student or staff scientist could have a discussion with a company department head, a professor, a national lab director and be heard, not because of their rank in the organization, but because of the quality of their ideas.