16 December 2008, No. 35/2008

Humboldt Research Award winner Steven Chu is US Secretary of Energy-designate

Barack Obama appoints physicist and expert on renewable energies to his cabinet

US President-elect Barack Obama has nominated the physicist Steven Chu to be Secretary of Energy in his cabinet. Chu is a recognised expert and driving force in the use of renewable energies. In 1994, he received the Humboldt Research Award and in 1996 spent several months at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching on the strength of Alexander von Humboldt sponsorship. His host there was the German Nobel Prize winner, physicist Theodor Hänsch, who was himself a Humboldt Foundation Research Award winner and Chu’s predecessor at Standford University, California, until 1987. Chu has also hosted German junior researchers working at his institute as Humboldt Foundation Feodor Lynen Research Fellows.

Three years after receiving the Humboldt Research Award he was granted the Nobel Prize for Physics. Since 2004, he has been director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Chu, who is 60, is an expert in the field of energy research and the driving force behind many influential studies and demands for a change in strategy in US energy policy in favour of greater use of renewable energies.

“We are delighted and would like to congratulate Steven Chu on his influential position. His appointment signals the will of the new US government to promote renewable energies and to build on research expertise,” commented Dr. Georg Schütte, Secretary General of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation annually enables more than 1800 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of some 23,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in 130 countries worldwide - including 40 Nobel Prize winners.

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