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Honored Physicist Steven Chu Selected as AAAS President-Elect

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Steven Chu
Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu will serve as AAAS president-elect starting in February. | Steve Fisch

Nobel laureate and former Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been chosen as president-elect of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Chu will start his three-year term as an officer and member of the Executive Committee of the AAAS Board of Directors at the 184th AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, in February.

“As Secretary of Energy, I was reminded daily that science must continue to be elevated and integrated into our national life and throughout the world. The work of AAAS in connecting science with society, public policy, human rights, education, diplomacy and journalism – through its superb journals and programs – is essential,” said Chu in his candidacy statement.

“Never has there been a more important time than today for AAAS to communicate the advances in science, the methods we use to acquire this knowledge and the benefits of these discoveries to the public and our policymakers,” he said.

Chu cited his role in key reports by National Academies and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on the competitiveness of the U.S. scientific enterprise and the state of fundamental research, studies that “sounded alarms that the health of science, science education and integration of science into public decision-making in the U.S. was in peril and heading in the wrong direction,” he said in his candidacy statement. “Concern among scientists and friends of science is even greater today and we in AAAS have our work cut out for us.”

AAAS must continue its efforts to communicate the benefits of scientific progress, Chu noted, saying the world’s largest general scientific organization must continue to ensure scientists and students have access to the free exchange of ideas and the ability to pursue discovery across national boundaries.

Chu currently serves as the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University. Prior to rejoining Stanford in 2013, Chu was secretary of energy during President Barack Obama’s first term, the first scientist to head the Department of Energy, the home of the nation’s 17 National Laboratories.

Prior to his appointment as energy secretary, Chu was director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as well as a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley. He first joined Stanford University in 1987, where he was a professor of physics until 2004.

Between 1978 and 1987, Chu worked at Bell Labs, where he ultimately led its Quantum Electronics Research Department. At Bell Labs, Chu carried out research on laser cooling and atom trapping, work that would earn him – along with Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William Daniel Phillips – the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1997. Their new methods for using laser light to “trap” and slow down atoms to study them in greater detail “contributed greatly to increasing our knowledge of the interplay between radiation and matter,” the Nobel Committee said in 1997.

Chu received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

He was named an elected fellow of AAAS in 2000 and has been a member of AAAS since 1995. He served on the AAAS Committee on Nominations, which selects the annual slate of candidates for AAAS president-elect and Board of Directors elections, from 2009 to 2011.

The current AAAS president-elect, Margaret Hamburg, will begin her term as AAAS president at the close of the 2018 Annual Meeting. Hamburg is foreign secretary of the National Academy of Medicine. The current president, Susan Hockfield, will become chair of the AAAS Board of Directors. Hockfield is president emerita of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2017 Annual Election Results

General Election

President-Elect:
Steven Chu, Stanford University

Board of Directors:
Rosina M. Bierbaum, University of Michigan/University of Maryland
Laura H. Greene, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory/Florida State University

Committee on Nominations:
Sallie (Penny) W. Chisholm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mary Frank Fox, Georgia Institute of Technology
Jeffrey I. Gordon, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Amita Sehgal, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Section Elections

Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources

Chair Elect:
Alison L. Van Eenennaam, University of California, Davis

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Karen E. Koch, University of Florida

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Vivek Kapur, Pennsylvania State University
Marcia M. Miller, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

Council Delegate:
Jennifer L. Tank, University of Notre Dame

Anthropology

Chair Elect:
Susan C. Antón, New York University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Kaye E. Reed, Arizona State University

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Daniel H. Sandweiss, University of Maine
Denise F. Su, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Astronomy

Chair Elect:
Dennis  Zaritsky, University of Arizona

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Lynne A. Hillenbrand, California Institute of Technology

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Tie (run-off election will be conducted)

Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences

Chair Elect:
Ana P. Barros, Duke University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Stephanie Pfirman, Barnard College /Columbia University

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Meredith Hastings, Brown University
Cora E. Randall, University of Colorado

Biological Sciences

Chair Elect:
Vicki L. Chandler, Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Carol L. Boggs, University of South Carolina

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Bruce Bowerman, University of Oregon
Scott V. Edwards, Harvard University

Council Delegates:
Elizabeth S. Haswell, Washington University in St. Louis
Catherine M. Pringle, University of Georgia
Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, HHMI/Stowers Institute for Medical Research

Chemistry

Chair Elect:
Vicki H. Grassian, University of California, San Diego

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague, University of California, Davis

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Jaqueline L. Kiplinger, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Elsa Reichmanis, Georgia Institute of Technology

Council Delegate:
Teresa Fryberger, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences

Chair Elect:
Jacques Eduardo Nör, University of Michigan

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Anne George, University of Illinois at Chicago

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Effie Ioannidou, UConn Health
Purnima Kumar, Ohio State University

Education

Chair Elect:
Patricia Marsteller, Emory University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Angela Calabrese Barton, Michigan State University

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Stacey Kiser, Lane Community College
Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall, University of Georgia

Engineering

Chair Elect:
Sarah A. Rajala, Iowa State University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Ilona Kretzschmar, The City College of New York, CUNY

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Christina Chan, Michigan State University
Eric K. Lin, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Council Delegate:
Sankar Basu, National Science Foundation

General Interest in Science and Engineering

Chair Elect:
Patricia L. Ward, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Sharon M. Friedman, Lehigh University

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Susan Gaidos, Freelance
Mari N. Jensen, University of Arizona

Geology and Geography

Chair Elect:
Paul L. Koch, University of California, Santa Cruz

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Emi Ito, University of Minnesota

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Mary Anne Holmes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Retired)
Sally E. Walker, University of Georgia

History and Philosophy of Science

Chair Elect:
Michael R. Dietrich, University of Pittsburgh

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Judy Johns Schloegel, Independent Scholar

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, University of Minnesota
Zuoyue Wang, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Council Delegate:
James R. Fleming, Colby College

Industrial Science and Technology

Chair Elect:
Martin Keller, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
J. Stephen (Steve) Rottler, Sandia National Laboratory (Retired)

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Philip M. Harrington, BASF Corporation
Anna W. Topol, IBM Research

Council Delegate:
Cammy R. Abernathy, University of Florida

Information, Computing, and Communication

Chair Elect:
Joseph Halpern, Cornell University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Maja J. Matarić, University of Southern California

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Lydia E. Kavraki, Rice University
Diane L. Souvaine, Tufts University

Linguistics and Language Science

Chair Elect:
Tie (run-off election will be conducted)

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Keren Rice, University of Toronto (Canada)

Electorate Nominating Committee:
William Badecker, National Science Foundation
Donca Steriade, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mathematics

Chair Elect:
James M. Crowley, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Irene Fonseca, Carnegie Mellon University

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Suzanne Lenhart, University of Tennessee
Audrey Terras, University of California, San Diego

Medical Sciences

Chair Elect:
Gilda A. Barabino, The City College of New York, CUNY

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Katherine Amberson Hajjar, Weill Cornell Medicine

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Lisa M. Coussens, Oregon Health & Science University
Cathy L. Drennan, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Council Delegate:
Stephen B. Baylin, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Vivian G. Cheung, Howard Hughes Medical Institute/University of Michigan

Neuroscience

Chair Elect:
Marina R. Picciotto, Yale University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Margaret M. McCarthy, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Anne C. Hart, Brown University
George (Ron) Mangun, University of California, Davis

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Chair Elect:
Craig W. Lindsley, Vanderbilt University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Amy M. Barrios, University of Utah

Electorate Nominating Committee:
John A. Beutler, National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health
Jorge A. Iñiguez-Lluhí, University of Michigan

Physics

Chair Elect:
Jonathan A. Bagger, TRIUMF / University of British Columbia (Canada)

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Tim M.P. Tait, University of California, Irvine

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Nicholas P. Bigelow, University of Rochester
Myriam P. Sarachik, The City College of New York, CUNY

Council Delegate:

Alan R. Bishop, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Psychology

Chair Elect:
Susan A. Gelman, University of Michigan

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Kent Berridge, University of Michigan

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Jennifer Crocker, Ohio State University
Mary Hegarty, University of California, Santa Barbara

Council Delegate:
James L. McClelland, Stanford University

Social, Economic, and Political Sciences

Chair Elect:
Barbara Schneider, Michigan State University

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Pamela E. Oliver, University of WisconsinMadison

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Joane Nagel, University of Kansas
Elaine Wethington, Cornell University

Council Delegate:
Karen S. Cook, Stanford University

Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering

Chair Elect:
Kei Koizumi, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Barbara Belmont, California State University, Dominguez Hills

Electorate Nominating Committee:
Susan E. Cozzens, Georgia Institute of Technology
Jennifer Kuzma, North Carolina State University

Statistics

Chair Elect:
M. Elizabeth Halloran, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington

Member-at-Large of the Section Committee:
Hongzhe Li, University of Pennsylvania

Electorate Nominating Committee:
David Banks, Duke University
Jessica Utts, University of California, Irvine

Author

Andrea Korte