Chu is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and a professor of molecular and cellular physiology in the Medical School at Stanford University. He has published over 275 papers in atomic and polymer physics, biophysics, biology, batteries, and holds 11 patents. Currently, he is developing new optical nanoparticle probes for applications in biology and biomedicine, exploring new approaches to lithium ion batteries, PM2.5 air filtration and other applications of nanotechnology. Chu was the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy from January 2009 until the end of April 2013. Prior to his cabinet post, he was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at Berkeley. Chu has dozens of awards including the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to laser cooling and atom trapping. He has 29 honorary degrees and 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.