The Optical Society (OSA) presented its 2013 Advocate of Optics recognition to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu yesterday. Chu was recognized at a reception as part of OSA’s annual two-day Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. Chu was chosen as OSA’s 2013 Advocate of Optics for “public policy leadership and efforts in support of the advancement of the science of light,” particularly his efforts in increasing investments for photovoltaics, LEDs, and other optics-based energy technologies.
Chu is well known in the optics community for his Nobel Prize-winning work on laser cooling. An OSA Fellow and Honorary Member, Chu was appointed by President Obama as the Secretary of Energy in 2009 after an impressive career that included positions at Bell Labs, Stanford University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California, Berkeley. A vocal advocate for research into renewable energy , Chu has argued that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combating climate change. Under his direction, the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has invested in more than 150 research, manufacturing, and market solution projects in photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and systems integration.
“Steve has helped raise the profile of optical science to the national level by showcasing the tremendous potential of optics and photonics in energy production,” said OSA President Donna Strickland, who presented the honor to Chu in Washington. “His endless enthusiasm for and dedication to the field of optics has made him an invaluable advocate for the industry.”
To be recognized as an OSA Advocate of Optics, a public official must have a record consistent with his or her support of science, optics and photonics and be an enthusiastic advocate for science policy issues, with particular regard to the advancement of the science of light.