Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who is President-elect Barack Obama's choice for energy secretary, is a strong advocate for more research into alternative energy. The director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has argued that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combat global warming.
One of the country's most renowned scientists, Chu in 1997 shared the Nobel Prize in physics with two other scientists for his research into ways to cool and trap atoms using laser light. By cooling atoms to minus-273 degrees Celsius, they found the movement of atoms can be slowed to a point where they could be trapped and manipulated.
In recent years, Chu has presented his research at SPIE Photonics West and SPIE Optics+Photonics.
Associated Press story