Languages
Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Profile: Steven Chu

Steven Chu, 15 December 2008
Steven Chu is a leading supporter of developing new energy sources
In choosing Steven Chu as his energy secretary, Barack Obama has picked one of the most prominent US advocates of using science to tackle global warming.

"What the world does in the coming decade will have enormous consequences that will last for centuries," Dr Chu said following his appointment.

"It is imperative that we begin without further delay."

A Nobel Prize laureate, Dr Chu has since 2004 led a push to develop new technologies including biofuels and solar energy as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

After being named by Mr Obama, he said the energy department should support energy research and development that leads to innovation in the private sector, as well as broader scientific research "essential for our future prosperity".

Trapping atoms

Born in St Louis, Missouri, in 1948, Steven Chu graduated in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester in 1970.

He earned his PhD and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is now professor of physics, and of molecular and cell biology.

If I were emperor of the world, I would put the pedal to the floor on energy efficiency and conservation
Steve Chu

He also worked at AT&T's Bell Labs before moving to Stanford University in 1987.

In 1997 he shared the Nobel Prize for physics for his work on cooling and trapping atoms using laser light.

He is a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an alliance of businesses and scientists working towards a new global climate treaty for 2009.

He has said a price must be put on carbon "without loopholes", and argued that international regulations and fiscal policies are necessary to curb emissions.

"Free market forces aren't going to do this," he said in a lecture earlier this year.

He is also outspoken on the need to end the unnecessary waste of energy.

"If I were emperor of the world, I would put the pedal to the floor on energy efficiency and conservation for the next decade," he said last year.

Of Mr Obama he said: "President-elect Obama has set the tone and pace for moving our country forward with optimism and calm determination.

"I hope to emulate his example."

Dr Chu is married to Jean Chu, an Oxford-trained physicist, and has two sons through a previous marriage.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Obama's government team so far
15 Dec 08 |  US Elections 2008

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific