Steven Chu, Stanford Nobel physicist, former U. S. energy secretary, elected to Royal Society

Steven Chu (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)
Steven Chu (Photo: U.S. Department of Energy)

Physicist STEVEN CHU, Stanford professor and Nobel laureate, has been elected as a foreign member of the Fellowship of the Royal Society, one of the world’s most prominent groups of scientists.

Chu is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences. He is a professor of physics and of molecular and cellular physiology. The Royal Society is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, and is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Past fellows and foreign members have included Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein.

Outstanding scientists, including pioneers in molecular biology, biomedicine and solar cell technology, make up the 50 new fellows and 10 new foreign members announced by the Royal Society. Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in physics for the development of methods to use lasers to cool and trap atoms. From January 2009 to April 2013 he was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama and has sought new solutions to energy and climate challenges throughout his career.

During his first turn as a professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford, Chu helped launch the Stanford Bio-X program and the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology. Now, Chu plans to engage students and faculty from across campus to develop ways to facilitate addressing the country’s energy problems, with a focus on new pathways to sustainable, carbon dioxide-neutral energy. The Chu Group will also continue its efforts in applying new biophysical techniques to the study of biological systems, with an eye toward disease research.