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Obama Taps Nobel Physicist

Photonics.com
Dec 2008
CHICAGO, Ill., Dec. 12, 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama has announced that Nobel prize-winning physicist Steven Chu has been selected as the US secretary of energy.

Steven-Chu.jpgChu, director of Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory since 2004, is a strong advocate of alternative and renewable energy research. His own research has resulted in numerous awards, including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips, for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.

Considered one of the Department of Energy’s most challenging jobs in government, Chu will be a key player in the research and development of alternative energy sources needed to replace fossil fuels. He will also have the task of maintaining and developing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, and modernizing the nation’s electrical power delivery system. 

By tapping a Washington-outsider as the US secretary of energy, Obama is sending a strong message that science and not politics will lead the incoming administration’s quest to develop environmentally friendly energy sources and solutions, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since its creation in 1977, the DoE, which is considered the most science-intensive of all federal agencies, has been led by only one other working scientist.

Obama is also expected to name Nancy Sutley, to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Lisa P. Jackson to head the EPA, and Carol M. Browner to oversee energy, environment and climate change policy.

For more information about Steven Chu, visit: www.lbl.gov



GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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