Jan 22, 2009

Chu confirmed as energy secretary

The LANL Daily News Bulletin

To speak to DOE employees this morning

Steven Chu was sworn in as the new secretary of the Department of Energy on Wednesday. The United States Senate on Tuesday confirmed Chu to lead DOE.

Chu is scheduled to speak to DOE employees at 11 this morning (Mountain Standard Time). Check LABNET Channel 9 for the talk.

Chu comes to DOE from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he has been director.

A Nobel Laureate physicist—he shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1997 for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light—Chu also is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Chu's numerous awards include the American Physical Society's Arthur Schawlow Prize for Laser Science, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's Senior Scientist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Academica Sinica, the American Philosophical Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Korean Academy of Sciences and Technology.

Chu earned undergraduate degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Rochester in 1970, and a doctoral degree in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1976. He was a postdoctoral fellow at UC, Berkeley from 1976 to 1978, when he joined ATT's Bell Labs. He moved to Stanford University in 1987, where he was a professor of physics and applied physics, and where he received high academic honors and held a number of administrative posts before joining Berkeley lab in 2004.


Anonymous said...

What did Dr. Chu have to say during his talk today to DOE employees? Anything of importance?

Anonymous said...

Not really. He said NNSA would remain in DOE and mentioned several national laboratories as crown jewels in his plans for energy R&D, but did not mention LANL, LLNL, or SNL. He did mention ORNL, ANL, LBL.

Anonymous said...

"He did mention ORNL, ANL, LBL."

The science labs!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if Dr. Chu realizes the extent of the decimation of science at LANL over the last five years and I don't hold out much hope for a renaissance in research activity at LANL under Dr. Chu's reign.

LANL will become the backwater lab that deals with all the nasty NNSA weapon issues while the DOE energy labs (ORNL, ANL, LBNL, PNNL) will rake in massive increases in new energy funding that's about to be released by Obama and his new Democratic Congress.

You can expect that Mike will try to sell a different story at the Monday All-Hands, but I would be very careful putting much faith in whatever the Director has to say.

Anonymous said...

LANL's for-profit management must be drooling over the thought of all the juicy management overhead and taxes they can plunder with Dr. Chu's new funding. Expect to see an average $600 K FTE for TSMs if any of this money ever makes its way into LANL.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mikey can finagle a fancier LLC paid sports car out of this new energy research thingy.

Anonymous said...

Let us hope he doesn't alternate between putting his head in the sand and his head up his arse like the previous DOE directors have. Looks like he is starting off with his head in the sand...

Anonymous said...

The reason that Chu mentioned ORNL, ANL, and LBL is that:

ANL has a long history as a reactor laboratory and it is in Illinois (Durban, Obama, etc).

LBL is where Chu is from.

ORNL has some reactor history.

AND, giving any money at all to LANL is still very unpopular in Congress, albeit for the wrong reasons.

If I were Chu, I would tell LANL to make major reductions in the bloated overhead. If not, then I would declare LANS in breach of contract for not operating LANL in the public interest!

Anonymous said...

Don't think that's an issue 6 am, LANS will do whatever DOE/NNSA tells it to do.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that either LANL or LLNL are on Dr. Chu's energy radar screen. The huge infusion of energy research money will be going to more competitive DOE labs. If you have any ability to move around in the DOE complex, you probably want to be positioned at labs like ANL, LBNL, ORNL, PNNL or even SNL in the future.

Anonymous said...

And once again everyone forgets little ol' NREL, who is hiring rampantly right now.

Anonymous said...

"Rampant hiring" in a depression economy? Wow! That sounds nice! I bet NREL also won't be having any layoffs, freezing salaries, or cutting back on employee work hours, either. And NREL is run by the non-profits Midwest Research Institute and Battelle. No Bechtel or BWXT profiteers roaming the halls for booty at that lab.

Anonymous said...

So, I checked out the NREL site. Very interesing...


"Besides being a world-class R&D center, NREL is a fantastic place to work offering competitive salaries, benefits, diversity, and work/life balance. Our employees find that developing clean energy solutions for the world is extremely rewarding."

"An added benefit of working at NREL is our location. We're nestled at the foot of Colorado's Rocky Mountains in Golden, just 15 minutes from downtown Denver and close to high-country adventure."

"Besides long-term careers, NREL also offers graduate and undergraduate internships and postdoctoral research and research associate positions. We invite outstanding scholars from other countries to join us through Foreign National assignment."

Under benefits, they list that they offer a pension (something even LANL no longer offers to new hires!). Being a non-profit, unlike LANL they still offer a 403b rather than a corporate 401k...


NREL offers extremely competitive benefits that add greatly to your overall compensation. The following benefits are available depending on your employment status:

* Medical, dental, and basic life insurance effective your first day
* Flexible Spending Accounts for health care and day care/dependent care
* Retirement plans, including pension and 403(b) tax deferred annuity
* Optional life and accident insurance
* Short- and long-term disability plans
* Long-term care plan
* Holidays (10 days/year)
* Personal time off
* Extended sick leave
* Employee assistance program
* Training, development, and tuition reimbursement programs
* Wellness activities: on-site aerobics, massage, yoga, and fitness rooms
* Health club reimbursement
* Credit union and banking benefits
* Flexible schedules
* Business casual dress
* Free RTD bus pass

NREL is just starting to gear up with new funding, so there will probably be lots of job growth in the future, As of now they have listings for: visualization scientists, biophysicists, process engineers, computer scientists, electrical engineers, research technicians for HVAC, thin film researchers, material scientists, etc.

I wonder if NREL might "comp" newly hired scientists moving from LANL who need to rent a nice apartment in Golden, CO while trying to unload their house back in Los Alamos?

Anonymous said...

Just a few questions about NREL...

Does NREL supply a luxury sports car to their Director which he can park out front each day?

Does NREL require their scientists to take lie detector tests and frequent piss tests?

Does NREL have an overhead that drives staff FTE rates up to over $500 K?

Does NREL constantly harass and threaten their employees about improper charge code usage?

Does NREL require their employees to undergo countless online training classes that are largely a waste of time?

Does NREL have oversight from a badly dysfunctional agency like NNSA which plans on shrinking their complex and associated staffing by 30%?

Does NREL have a Director and upper management that actually cares about their employees?

Does NREL let their scientists freely attend most conferences and other travel?

Does NREL have a crazy worker to management ratio that is approaching 4:1 and growing?

Does NREL shut down their Email system and trash the incoming messages during all holidays?

Does NREL use Concur? Oracle?

Oh, and finally, does NREL issue Yak Traks to all their employees?

Anonymous said...

These are powerful arguments that you make, but:

Does NREL give large salaries to unproductive workers?

Are their proposals and programs subject to peer review or just like the secret nonsense of LANL?

If you have the credentials to leave LANL, the time has come to make a decision.

Anonymous said...

NREL it is then.

Anonymous said...

"* Business casual dress"

Hm. This could disqualify most of T Division.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps T Division should cut a deal to have the whole division move out to NREL. I'm sure NREL could handle the costs given the big boost coming to federal energy research.

Anonymous said...

As long as they don't ask for 'business casual hygiene'

Anonymous said...

That Dr. Chu is such a nice, polite looking man. Too bad he's going to have to axe a lot of the scientist jobs at the NNSA research labs.