This is a past event
Converse Hall, Cole Assembly Room

Join Dr. Steven Chu for a talk on the future of sustainability as he receives an honorary degree from Amherst College. This event is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception. Chu was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1997 for his research on atom trapping via laser cooling, and he served as the U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013.

The industrial and agricultural revolutions have profoundly transformed the world, but the unintended consequence of these revolutions is that humans are changing the climate of Earth. Dr. Chu will briefly describe new data on climate change, before addressing how progress in carbon-free energy can provide a low-cost path to a more sustainable world. Research in energy storage and new approaches to electro-chemical production of chemical fuels will be described in the context of the remaining scientific and technology challenges that need to be overcome in the transition to clean energy solutions.

Steven Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology in the Medical School at Stanford University. He has published over 275 papers in atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology and batteries, and he holds 11 patents. Currently, he is developing new optical nanoparticle probes for applications in biology and biomedicine, and exploring new approaches to lithium ion batteries, PM2.5 air filtration and other applications of nanotechnology.

Dr. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy, serving from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. As the first scientist to hold a cabinet position and the longest-serving energy secretary, he recruited outstanding scientists and engineers into the Department of Energy. He began several initiatives, including ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy) and the Energy Innovation Hubs, the U.S. – China Clean Energy Research Centers (CERC), and President Obama personally tasked him with assisting BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

Prior to his cabinet post, Dr. Chu was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley. Previously he was the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University. At Stanford, he helped launch Bio-X, a multidisciplinary institute combining the physical and biological sciences with medicine and engineering, and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Previously he was head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Dr. Chu has dozens of awards, including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He has 30 honorary degrees and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Sinica, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology.

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