Nobel Prize-winning scientist Steven Chu is currently the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. During his tenure there, he has conducted groundbreaking research and launched two institutes, and he currently heads The Chu Group, working on the development of molecular imaging methods and their application in biology and biomedicine.
Chu has held multiple leadership positions in academia, as well as at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories, and the U.S. Department of Energy, where he was the 12th secretary, serving from 2009 until 2013. He was the first scientist to hold a cabinet position and the longest-serving secretary of energy in U.S. history. His proactive and interdisciplinary approach drew the acclaim of President Obama, who also credits him with doubling the use of renewable energy in the U.S. and expanding support for engineers and entrepreneurs to pursue the future of clean energy. Securing that future is, for Chu, an ethical imperative. On his departure from the Department of Energy, he wrote: “We have a moral responsibility to the most innocent victims of adverse climate change.Those who will suffer the most are the people who are the most innocent: the world’s poorest citizens and those yet to be born.”
Chu’s many recognitions include the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics; numerous honorary degrees; and prestigious memberships in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology. He has published more than 275 scientific papers and holds 11 patents. He received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.