Indiana State University Newsroom

Former energy secretary Steven Chu to speak at Indiana State

October 20, 2014

Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist and former U.S. energy secretary, will speak at Indiana State University Nov. 5 as part of the 2014-15 University Speakers Series.

Chu, who served in President Obama's cabinet from 2009 to 2013, is the first Nobel laureate to head the Department of Energy. He offers audiences insight on the nation's energy future and ways advances in science are the key to solving our most confounding global issues.rn

Chu has been credited with bringing science to the forefront of America's clean energy policy. The president tasked Chu to use his scientific skills to assist BP in stopping the massive Gulf oil leak and to assist the government of Japan in dealing with the tsunami-damaged Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear reactors.

Under his leadership, the department was also asked to make initial recommendations on how the U.S. could develop environmentally responsible methods to tap natural gas and oil resources with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking. Chu was lauded as secretary for his scientific brilliance and accessible easygoing style. He was personally responsible for identifying and recruiting numerous outstanding scientists and engineers to join the march toward a sustainable energy future built on developing cutting-edge technologies aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels.rn

He played a pivotal role in the initiation and development of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, a program that focuses on high-risk, high-reward energy research that could lead to game-changing innovations.

As secretary, Chu also began Energy Innovation Hubs that have received wide support from industry and academia. The hubs are large, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional integrated research centers with a focus on bridging the gap between scientific breakthroughs and industrial commercialization.r

Chu was formerly professor of physics and professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California Berkeley, professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford University and a program head at AT&T Bell Laboratories. In 1997, he was honored as co-recipient of the Nobel prize in Physics for his work in laser cooling and trapping.

In 2013, following his departure from the cabinet, Chu returned to Stanford as the William R. Kenan Jr. professor of physics and professor of molecular and cellular physiology in the medical school and resumed his research in biophysics and biomedicine. He also continues his work on solving the country's energy problems by focusing on new pathways to sustainable, carbon dioxide-neutral energy.


Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or