Steven Chu (b. St. Louis, February 28, 1948), former director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was the US Secretary of Energy, heading the United States Department of Energy, for 2009 to 2013. He was nominated by US president Barack H. Obama and appointed by him on 20 January 2009 with the advice and consent of the US Senate.
Chu received a PhD in physics in 1976 from the University of California, Berkeley. He worked at Bell Labs from 1978 to 1987, then became a professor in the physics department at Stanford University. He served as chair of that department from 1990–1993 and 1999–2001. He became director of the Lawrence Berkeley Lab in 2004.
Chu, received the American Physical Society (APS) Herbert P. Broida Prize in 1987 and the APS Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science in 1994. He received the Nobel Prize in 1997 for his work on laser cooling and trapping of atoms.
Chu has been a strong supporter of renewable energy and an advocate of controls on greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming. As director of Lawrence Berkeley Lab, he increased the lab’s focus on researching clean energy technology, including advanced biofuels and solar energy technology.