Sunday, January 18, 2009

Steven Chu Is Still Not Too Busy To Do Science

I certainly missed this one, which is understandable because it was uploaded in a section of ArXiv that I don't normally read.

On the day that Steven Chu was undergoing his confirmation hearing for the Secretary of the Dept. of Energy position, his research paper was posted on ArXiv by one of his co-author. Not that this is a surprise considering everything we know about him already. Besides, this was done when he is the Director of Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and it is not unusual for a Nat'l Lab director to still continue doing physics research work.

Still, I wonder how much of this can he still do after he becomes the head of DOE. Will he have time to continue doing or be involved in research work, even on the peripheral? Can it also be a conflict of interest? Or maybe he'll work alone and produce papers more on ABOUT physics, rather than physics itself, such as the one done by the out-going Presidential Science Advisor John Marburger.

In any case, he will have his hands full, that's for sure.


1 comment:

CarlBrannen said...

Chu is 61 years old and was director of LBNL and chairman of the physics department at Stanford. As has been evident from various recent plagiarism scandals, it is common for administrators and senior physicists to be added as authors to papers written by junior members of physics departments.

If you look through Chu's articles on arXiv you will find that every one of them has people he managed listed as coauthors. This is not evidence of a guy who's doing physics, this is evidence of business as usual in the physics community.

If you want examples of older physicists still doing physics you should look at the ones who are still writing papers even though they haven't moved up in the ranks; or administrators who's coauthors are outside of their control; or even better, older physicists who write papers with no coauthors.

The truly great older physicists refused to become administrators at all.