Pope taps former DOE chief for science board

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pope Francis has appointed former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to serve in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, according to the Vatican.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, headquartered inside Vatican City, was established in 1936 by Pope Pius XI, according to a press release from the Vatican.

It focuses on six major scientific areas, including fundamental science, science and technology of global problems, science for the problems of the developing world, scientific policy, bioethics, and epistemology.

Chu, a native of Missouri, has a degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

He served as Energy secretary under President Obama from January 2009 to April 2013.

Since 2013, he has been a professor of molecular and cellular physics and physiology at Stanford University, according to his online bio. From 2004 to 2008, he directed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He taught physics and applied physics at Stanford from 1987 to 2008 and was head of the quantum electronics research department at AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1978 to 1987.

In 1997, he was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics for studies on the development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.