Nobel Laureate Physicist Sworn in As New US Energy Secretary

Following yesterday's inauguration of President Obama, Energy-Secretary designate Steven Chu was confirmed by the US Senate as the 12th Energy Secretary of the United States. A Nobel laureate physicist and former professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, Chu is a proponent for greater energy efficiency utilizing both alternative and nuclear energy to break away from worldwide dependency on fossil fuels.

On Jan. 13, Chu addressed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, stating that the nation must rise to the challenge of securing energy security while also confronting global climate change. Chu also noted the energy industry's economic impact on the United States as a whole. In his opening statement, Chu said, "Last year's rapid spike in oil and gasoline prices not only contributed to the recession we are now experiencing, it also put a huge strain on the budgets of families all across America."

"Although prices are now lower, we know that our economy remains vulnerable to future price swings. We must make a greater, more committed push toward energy independence and with it a more secure energy system," emphasized Chu.

In addition to his 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, Chu has been awarded the American Physical Society's Arthur Schawlow Prize for Laser Science, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Senior Scientist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Academica Sinica, the American Philosophical Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology.