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Reactions on the Obama Chu announcement from colleagues and notables, continued

Tom Bates, Mayor of Berkeley
I cannot think of anyone better than Steven Chu to lead the U.S. Department of Energy", said Mayor Tom Bates.  "His scientific expertise, administrative leadership and passion is exactly what we need to move this country away from fossil fuels and toward alternative energy. What will be a great loss for Berkeley will be an amazing gain for the country.

UC President Mark Yudof
Steven Chu is an inspired choice to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. He is a proven leader with a passion for education and science and a talent for identifying new solutions to pressing problems. While he will be greatly missed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Steve will bring to Washington a distinguished record of scientific achievement and a deep understanding of the energy, environmental and national security issues at the heart of the Department of Energy’s portfolio. Steve also offers extensive experience with the important role that research conducted in universities and national laboratories across the country plays in addressing our nation’s greatest scientific and technological challenges.  Steve’s vision and commitment to the development of new technologies to address our critical energy problems is exactly what our nation needs at this time.  The University of California is proud of its partnership with the Department of Energy and looks forward to working with Steve as secretary of energy.

Robert Birgeneau, UC Berkeley Chancellor
Steve Chu has been relentless about addressing the technical challenges of renewable energy in a deep way. We will now have an energy policy that can mean the U.S. will have a chance of obtaining energy self-sufficiency through new technology.

Paul Alivisatos, Deputy Director, Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley Professor Chemistry and Materials Science, and the Larry and Diane Bock Professor of Nanotechnology 
Steve Chu came to our lab just over four years ago with a vision for how our community could have an impact on the greatest scientific and technological challenges of our times. Berkeley Lab has been transformed under his leadership. Today we have new programs that bring together scientists from diverse disciplines to work on biofuels, soft X-ray science, solar energy, carbon management, battery technologies, dark matter and dark energy, to mention just a few. As the urgency of energy and environment issues has grown ever more clear and pressing, Steve Chu has now been called to play a major role on the national and global stage as the Secretary of Energy. This is really a tremendous affirmation of Steve's vision for Berkeley Lab, and also a tribute to our lab community which has acted so forcefully to help achieve his vision.”

Graham Fleming, former Deputy Director of Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley Professor of Chemistry and co-director of the California Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Research
Steve can do things that no one else I know can do. Having him as the Secretary of Energy creates a great opportunity for the country and for science.

Jay Keasling, CEO Joint BioEnergy Institute, director of Berkeley Lab’s Physical Biosciences Division, and UC Berkeley Professor of Chemical Engineering
Steve Chu has been an incredible visionary and true leader, particularly in the area of energy. Now the country and the world will benefit from that vision and leadership.

Chris Somerville, director of the Energy Biosciences Institute, UC Berkeley Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology
Fellow scientists see Steve Chu as a persuasive visionary able to bridge science with the private sector and government. He's definitely going to be the leader and a source of new ideas at the Deparment of Energy. Here in Silicon Valley ... one sees innovation moving out into the marketplace in world-changing ways. I think Steve very much has a sense that scientific knowledge and engineering can change things, fundamentally.

Arun Majumdar, director of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division
Steve Chu's breadth and depth of knowledge of the whole energy and climate change landscape, from science to policy to markets, and his ability to inspire people, especially young people, is unparalleled.  His energy level and optimism are contagious.  Steve's appointment as the Energy Secretary offers a great and historical opportunity for the U.S. to chart a new course in this important direction. Our country needs that type of leadership now from someone who deeply knows and cares.

The 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics

Nobel medal image

Steven Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for "development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light." More >>

Steven Chu's Nobel autobiography
Chu's Nobel Lecture (.pdf)
Receiving the Nobel Prize

About Steve Chu

IMAGE: Steven Chu
Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/ Berkeley Lab Public Affairs


Steve Chu has been Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since August, 2004. Chu, an early advocate for finding scientific solutions to climate change, has guided Berkeley Lab on a new mission to become the world leader in alternative and renewable energy research, particularly the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.

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To Catch an Atom

IMAGE: Steven Chu in the lab
Photo by Linda A. Cicero/ Stanford News Service


If you ever get the feeling that life is a blur, maybe it’s because the atoms that make up the world around us are always moving at speeds faster than those of supersonic jet planes (about 4,000 kilometers per hour). By cooling an atom down to a temperature of nearly absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius), you can slow its movement to a crawl and then use light to trap and manipulate it. That’s what physicist Steven Chu, the new director of Berkeley Lab, did to win a share of the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics.

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