Doctor of Science
Professor Steven Chu is a physicist, a Nobel Laureate, and has served as US Secretary of Energy. He is currently William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Physics, and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, and of Energy Science and Engineering at Stanford University.
Professor Chu holds a BA in mathematics and a BSc in physics from the University of Rochester, and a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Bell Labs in 1978, and was appointed head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department in 1983. He then joined Stanford University in 1987, served as Chair of its Physics Department from 1990 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2001, and helped initiate Bio-X, linking the physical and biological sciences with engineering and medicine.
Professor Chu received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for laser cooling and trapping of atoms together with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips. Other contributions included the first optical tweezers manipulation of biomolecules, precision atom interferometry based on optical pulses of light, and single molecule FRET of biomolecules tethered to surfaces. He has continued developing and applying new methods in molecular biology and medical imaging, materials science, and batteries.
In 2004, Professor Chu joined UC Berkeley's Department of Physics and Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. That year, he was also appointed Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy National Laboratory, and helped build its reputation as a centre of biofuels and solar energy research.
Throughout his career, Professor Chu has sought new solutions to the world’s energy and climate challenges. He served as US Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013 – the first Nobel Laureate to be appointed to the US Cabinet, and the second Chinese American – and pursued an ambitious agenda to increase investment in clean energy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and address the global climate crisis.
Professor Chu has served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Senior Advisor to the Directors of the National Institutes of Health and the National Nuclear Security Agency. He holds 35 honorary degrees, and is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and many international academies, including inter alia, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Academia Sinica, the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican.
In recognition of his contributions to academia and humanity worldwide, the University has resolved to confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.