Steven Chu to be named President Obama’s Energy Secretary

Nobel Prize-winning UC Berkeley professor Steven Chu is reportedly going to be named as President-elect Barack Obama

MSNBC.com this afternoon reported that an Asian American, Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who had turned from studying quantum physics to combating global warming, will be named next week as President-elect Barack Obama‘s nominee for the cabinet post of Energy Secretary.

Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley since 2004, is the 60-year-old son of Chinese immigrants who came to the US in the 1940s for post-graduate studies at MIT. He’ll be the second Chinese American cabinet member; the first is Elaine Chao, who’s currently serving as President Bush’s Secretary of Labor.

It’s pretty cool to think that a scientist — the ultimate geek and somewhat unfortunately, a living testament to the persistence of the “Model Minority” myth — is going to be in charge of the greening of our country. We can call him the top national nerd. Huffington Post reports:

Chu was one of three scientists who shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1997 for work in cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. He’s a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming. It is the oldest of the Energy Department’s national laboratories, doing only unclassified work, and in recent years under Chu has been at the center of research into biofuels and solar technologies.

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