STEVEN CHU, among the ranks of our most gifted scientific minds, your unique record of accomplishment as a path-breaking researcher and leader of the U.S. Department of Energy makes yours a voice of singular resonance in the conversation about our energy future.
Steven Chu received an honorary degree from Dartmouth at its 2015 Commencement Ceremony. (Photo by Rob Strong ’04)
Through vastly different careers as a teacher, physicist, and public administrator, you have shown an unwavering commitment to the belief that science, at its heart and at its best, is a language of unflinching truth. Among numerous breakthroughs, your pioneering work with colleagues to employ lasers to capture, cool, and study atoms earned you the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997.
When called upon by President Obama to head the Department of Energy, you were not only the first Nobel Prize winner to receive a cabinet appointment; you would also become the longest serving secretary in the agency’s history. Leading the Administration’s effort to confront what is perhaps the fundamental challenge of our age—meeting our growing demand for energy while addressing its impact on our planet—you did so from a position of reverence for the role science plays in offering hope for the future. “The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones,” you said. “We transitioned to better solutions.”
For your tireless pursuit of sustainable solutions as a researcher, administrator and thought leader; for your profound contributions to a better understanding of the world around us; and for your unflagging belief in the timeless truths offered by rigorous scientific inquiry, we are proud to award you the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.
President Philip J. Hanlon