Steven Chu
  • 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics


American physicist. Professor at Stanford University.
The 12th United States Secretary of Energy from 2009 to 2013, currently President of American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 "for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light".

Education and Work Experience

1976, Ph.D. in Physics, University of California, Berkeley
1983-1987, Director of the Research Department of Quantum Electronics, Bell Labs
1987-Present, Professor of Physics at Stanford University
2018-Present, President of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Honors and Awards

1992, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1993, Member of the United States National Academy of Sciences
1997, Nobel Prize in Physics
2014, Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS)

Major Academic Achievements

Prof. Chu's early research focused on atomic physics by developing laser cooling techniques and the magneto-optical trapping of atoms using lasers. Trapping atoms with this method allows scientists to study individual atoms with great accuracy.
Additionally, the technique can be used to construct an atomic clock with great precision. At Stanford, Chu's research interests expanded into biological physics and polymer physics at the single-molecule level. He studied enzyme activity and protein and RNA folding using techniques like fluorescence resonance energy transfer, atomic force microscopy, and optical tweezers. He continued researching atomic physics as well and developed new methods of laser cooling and trapping.