Steven Chu Receives 2015 Robert Fletcher Award

June 3, 2015

The Robert Fletcher Award is given annually to a graduate or friend of Thayer School in recognition of distinguished achievement and service in the highest tradition of the School. The award is named in honor of Robert Fletcher, who was appointed by Sylvanus Thayer as the School's first professor of engineering and its first director (1871–1918).

The Dean of Thayer School chooses each year's award recipient who then traditionally delivers Thayer School's Investiture speech.

Steven Chu
Dr. Steven Chu. Photo by Steve Fisch.

The 2015 Robert Fletcher Award recipient is Steven Chu, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Physics and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University and the 12th US Secretary of Energy.

Dr. Chu's research spans atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, biomedicine and batteries. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for the laser cooling and trapping of atoms.

Chu was the US Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until April 2013 and the first scientist to hold a cabinet position since Ben Franklin. During his tenure, he began ARPA-E, the Energy Innovation Hubs, the Clean Energy Ministerial meetings, and was tasked by President Obama to assist BP in stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. Prior to his cabinet post, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, the Theodore and Francis Geballe Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Stanford University, and head of the Quantum Electronics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

Chu is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Academia Sinica, and is a foreign member of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology. He has been awarded 24 honorary degrees, published more than 250 scientific papers, and holds 10 patents.