Because physicist Steven Chu worked out so, so well:
MIT Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems and director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) Ernest Moniz will be nominated as the new head of the U.S. Department of Energy, an agency which runs 17 national laboratories, and has more than 16,000 federal employees and 90,000 contract employees.
President Barack Obama said Monday that he will nominate Moniz to lead the DOE, which is the largest funder of research in physical sciences.
A faculty member at MIT since 1973, Moniz has focused his research in theoretical nuclear physics and in energy technology and policy studies. Under Moniz’s direction, MITEI has been responsible for nearly 800 research projects at the institute and has brought in 25 percent of the MIT faculty in its pojects and programs, two-thirds of which have been in renewable energy, energy effeciency, carbon management and developing tools used in biotech and nanotech. Of those projects, more than 100 have been in solar energy.
In fact, MITEI received another $25 million pledge from oil giant BP for research over the next five years. The pledge doubled the amount the company has given to MITEI.
However, Moniz is on the record — post Fukushima — as supporting the continued use of nuclear power and is in favor of natural gas, calling it a “a bridge to a low-carbon future.” So maybe there’s some hope in this change?