Dr. Steven Chu

Former Secretary of Energy

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Career Highlights: 
Distinguished scientist and co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997)
Former Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab & professor of physics & molecular & cellular biology

Dr. Steven Chu served as the Secretary of Energy from January 21, 2009, to April 22, 2013.

Dr. Chu was charged with helping implement President Obama's ambitious agenda to invest in clean energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, address the global climate crisis, and create millions of new jobs.

Dr. Chu is the co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997) and received numerous other awards. He has devoted his recent scientific career to the search for new solutions to our energy and climate challenges - a mission he continues with even greater urgency as Secretary of Energy.

Prior to his appointment, Dr. Chu was the Director of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where he led the lab in pursuit of alternative and renewable energy technologies. He also taught at the University of California as a Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology. Previously, he held positions at Stanford University and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Dr. Chu's research in atomic physics, quantum electronics, polymer and biophysics includes tests of fundamental theories in physics, the development of methods to laser cool and trap atoms, atom interferometry, and the study of polymers and biological systems at the single molecule level. While at Stanford, he helped start Bio-X, a multi-disciplinary initiative that brings together the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.

The holder of 10 patents, Dr. Chu has published ~250 scientific and technical papers. He remains active with his research group and has recently published work on general relativity, single molecule biology, biophysics and biomedicine, and on scientific challenges and opportunities in clean energy. Over 30 alumni of his research group have gone on to become distinguished professors and have been recognized by dozens of prizes and awards.

Dr. Chu is a member of numerous honorific societies including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, and is an honorary member of the Institute of Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a Lifetime Member of the Optical Society of America. He received an A.B. degree in mathematics, a B.S. degree in physics from the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as 23 honorary degrees.

Dr. Chu was born in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1948. He is married to Dr. Jean Chu, who holds a D.Phil. in Physics from Oxford and has served as chief of staff to two Stanford University presidents as well as Dean of Admissions. Secretary Chu has two grown sons, Geoffrey and Michael, by a previous marriage.

Most Recent by Secretary Chu

Letter from Secretary Steven Chu to Energy Department Employees
February 1, 2013

Secretary Chu highlights progress on clean energy; announces decision not to serve a second term.

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Working Together to Recover and Rebuild After Hurricane Sandy
November 5, 2012

Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu recounts his meeting with utility crews at the front lines of Hurricane Sandy power restoration efforts.

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Energy Datapalooza: Unleashing the Power of Open Data to Advance our Energy Future
October 22, 2012

Today more than 150 of America’s entrepreneurs, software developers, energy experts, and policy makers are coming together for an Energy Datapalooza.

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The New EnergySaver.gov -- Save Money by Saving Energy!
With fall right around the corner, we are relaunching our EnergySaver.gov website with fresh updates that will help you and your family save money ...
September 10, 2012
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Statement on the Passing of Admiral James D. Watkins
July 30, 2012

Secretary Chu gives a statement on for Secretary of Energy Admiral James Watkins.

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America’s Competitiveness Depends on a 21st Century Grid
May 30, 2012

Secretary Chu highlights the need for a transition of our electric system to the 21st century grid.

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Celebrating Our Apps for Energy Developers
May 22, 2012

Secretary Chu writes about the Apps for Energy competition. The Energy Department will announce the winners today in Santa Clara, CA.

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On the Frontiers of a New Energy Source
May 2, 2012

Secretary Chu announces that the Department of Energy has completed a successful and unprecedented test of technology in the North Slope of Alaska...

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A Critical Step Toward Sustainable Nuclear Fuel Disposal
January 26, 2012

If we are going to ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of nuclear safety and security, non-proliferation, and nuclear energy...

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