Friday, February 01, 2013

Steven Chu Resigns

In case you didn't see this already, Steven Chu announced his resignation as the US Energy Secretary.

Chu will enter the record books as the longest-serving Secretary in DOE's 35-year history, and the first Nobel laureate to lead the sprawling, $27 billion department. Once a successor is named, Chu says that he plans to return to California. He spent 17 years on the faculty of Stanford University before moving to the University of California, Berkeley, and was director of DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory before coming to Washington in January 2009.
Despite the Solyndra debacle, I thought he did an admirable job considering that he was faced with a hostile congress that was determined to cut funding to the sciences regardless of the harm it will do not only to the advancement of knowledge, but also to the US economy.

It will be interesting to see who President Obama will nominate to replace him. I'm hoping that it will be someone who is a scientist and not a science-challenged bureaucrat (cough bill richardson cough!).



Steven said...

At least in my part of the DOE (a NNSA lab) it seems few people had positive feelings for Chu. There seemed to a lot of hope when Chu started that he would take on the administrative and regulatory bloat at the Labs. Instead things have only gotten worse.

cb said...

I have no expertise to say anything relevant about the accomplishments of Steven Chu as a Secretary of Energy but from a French perspective I wonder if this "Quantum Hero" (of Bose-Einstein condensation) had not a hidden agenda behind resignation ;-) ... like having more time to settle the controversy with another "Quantum Hero" (Claude Cohen-Tannoudji) over matter-wave interferometry and (pseudo)Compton "atom-clocks" ?