Catz Welcomes Nobel Laureate

Catz Welcomes Nobel Laureate

We were honoured to welcome Nobel Laureate and ex-US Energy Secretary, Professor Steven Chu, to speak at Catz on Wednesday 12 November 2014. The event marked the inaugural lecture for the newly-formed St Catherine's College Speaker Society, a student-run initiative aimed at bringing interesting and high-profile speakers to the College to give talks.

Professor Chu, former Christensen Fellow at Catz, is currently Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. His earlier research, developing the theory of laser cooling of atoms, and the demonstration of the first ‘atomic fountain’ atomic clock, won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997. He has since directed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and served as US Energy Secretary from 2009 to 2013.

Professor Chu gave an interesting and varied talk, entitled ‘Dr Chu goes to Washington: Why we need more practising scientists in the highest levels of government’. He spoke about his experiences in the Obama administration, and about how scientists working in politics can use new approaches and insights when tackling problems.

As examples of this, he spoke in detail about the advances in solar panel technology and affordability that happened during his tenure, and about his role in helping to stem the oil leak from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The talk was then followed by an extended Q&A session, with question topics ranging from Lithium-Ion battery technology to whether universities should be encouraging the next generation of scientists to explore politics.

Kindly contributed by Tom Nicholas (2012, Physics) and Wilkie Hollens (2012, English).

Photo L-R: Jean Chu, Steven Chu, Roger Ainsworth, Wilkie Hollens, Tom Nicholas.