As a Professor at Stanford University, Steven Chu has published over 275 papers in atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, batteries, and holds 11 patents. Currently, he is developing new optical nanoparticle probes for applications in biology and biomedicine, exploring new approaches to lithium ion batteries and other applications of nanotechnology. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. As the first scientist to hold a Cabinet position and the longest serving Energy Secretary, he recruited outstanding scientists and engineers into the Department of Energy. He came to that position with a wealth of experience, from having been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to acting as the head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
Chu has dozens of awards including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He has 29 honorary degrees and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society.