Steven Chu was picked as the Obama White House’s energy secretary. Here’s a quick look at his life and career.

Steven Chu was picked as the Obama White House’s energy secretary. Here’s a quick look at his life and career.

Career: Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is owned by the Energy Department and conducts research in a variety of sciences. Chu is a proponent for alternative and renewable energy research, including the development of carbon-neutral sources of energy.

History: Won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics, shared with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips, for developing methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light. Conducted the Nobel Prize-winning research while working at Bell Labs. A former professor of physics and physics department chairman at Stanford University, and a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

Born: Feb. 28, 1948 (age 60)

Birth city: St. Louis, Mo.; grew up in Garden City, N.Y.

Education: B.A., B.S., University of Rochester, 1970; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1976.

Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.

Family: Married to Jean Chu; has two adult sons from a previous marriage, Geoffrey and Michael.

Fun facts:

- In the eighth grade, taught himself tennis by reading a book. Also taught himself to pole vault using bamboo poles from a carpet store.

- Hobbies include bicycling, swimming and cooking.

- Has published more than 220 scientific papers.

Sources: www.nytimes.com, nobelprize.org, www.lbl.gov, www.copenhagenclimatecouncil.com