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Steven Chu

Steven ChuBorn: 28-Feb-1948
Birthplace: St. Louis, MO

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Government
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: US Secretary of Energy, 2009-13

American physicist Stephen Chu developed a new means to study the interaction between matter and radiation, by using laser technology to supercool and manipulate atoms. Under normal conditions atoms are perpetually in motion at speeds of up to 2,480 miles (4,000 kilometers) per hour, but as temperatures are reduced to near absolute zero the atoms are greatly slowed, making it much easier to isolate, capture, and study individual atoms. Chu first demonstrated his process of atom-trapping, using three pairs of orthogonal counter-propagating laser beams to slow the atomic motion, in 1985, while employed at Bell Laboratories. The process is also called "optical molasses".

Chu won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997, shared with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips. He later taught at Stanford University and administered the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He was appointed US Secretary of Energy by President-elect Barack Obama on 15 December 2008, and took office on 21 January 2009. In accepting the post, Chu said that he saw global climate change as "the greatest challenge facing science", and that he hoped to strengthen the Department of Energy's support for renewable energy sources that will not exacerbate global warming.

Father: Ju Chin Chu (chemist, b. 1920)
Mother: Ching Chen Li (economist, m. 1945)
Brother: Gilbert Chu (biochemist, b. 1946)
Brother: Morgan Chu (attorney, b. 1950)
Wife: Lisa Chu-Thielbar (astrobiologist, div.)
Son: Geoffry (b. 1981)
Son: Michael (b. 1984)
Wife: Jean Fetter Chu (physicist, m. 1997)

    High School: Garden City High School, Garden City, NY (1966)
    University: BA Mathematics, University of Rochester (1970)
    University: BS Physics, University of Rochester (1970)
    University: PhD Physics, University of California at Berkeley (1976)
    Fellow: University of California at Berkeley (1976-78)
    Professor: Applied Physics, Stanford University (1987-2004)
    Administrator: Chair, Physics, Stanford University (1990-93 and 1999-2001)
    Administrator: Trustee, University of Rochester

    US Secretary of Energy (21-Jan-2009 to 22-Apr-2013)
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director (2004-09)
    Bell Laboratories Director of Quantum Electronics Research (1983-87)
    Bell Laboratories Physicist (1978-83)
    Member of the Board of NVIDIA (2004-09)
    Guggenheim Fellowship 1996
    Nobel Prize for Physics 1997 (with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1992
    American Philosophical Society 1998
    American Physical Society 1987
    Chinese Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Korean Academy of Science and Technology Foreign Member
    National Academy of Sciences 1993
    National Science Foundation Grant, 1976
    Phi Beta Kappa Society 1969
    Science Debate 2008
    William & Flora Hewlett Foundation Board of Directors
    John Kerry for President
    Kerry Victory 2004
    Funeral: Ted Kennedy (2009)
    Chinese Ancestry

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