Energy Secretary Steven Chu Heading Back To Stanford

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu is heading back to Stanford University. Chu, who is leaving Washington, D.C., has accepted a position teaching physics at the California school.

Chu's replacement in the Obama administration will likely be nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The energy secretary previously taught at Stanford, as well as the University of California, Berkley, earlier in his career. Reuters reports that Chu explained of his decision:

"I want to return to .. the marriage of physics, biology and biomedicine. That is a very exciting frontier."
Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize winner and will hold a joint appointment at the school's Department of Physics and the School of Medicine's Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology.

Chu sent out millions of dollars toward clean energy research during his time at the Department of Energy. But key recipients, like Solyndra, were forced to file for bankruptcy. Solyndra filed in 2011 after the company received a $535 million loan guarantee.

Steven Chu is the longest-serving energy secretary in US history. United Press International notes that Chu believes his return to Stanford University is appropriate, considering his time in government service was, to him, a break from academia.

Chu also said that his time as Secretary of Energy in the US was invaluable. It helped broaden his approach to scientific issues, while also providing perspective on how academia drives progress in the country.

Steven Chu also believes that his re-appointment at Stanford will help him teach his students how vital communication is to deploying new technology. He explained:

"Using technology to drive down the cost of cleaner forms of energy is only part of it. You have to build a better mousetrap, and people have to be aware that it's a better mousetrap."
Energy Secretary Steven Chu's departure from the Obama administration will depend on his successor's appointment.

[Image by Department of Energy (Obtained via email from Department of Energy.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]