By Olivia Moore
President Barack Obama has nominated Ernest Moniz Ph.D. ’72, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physicist, as the next U.S. Secretary of Energy.
If the Senate approves Moniz’s nomination, he will replace incumbent Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Chu worked as a professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford from 1987 to 2008, and plans to return to the University this spring after four years in office.
Moniz, who was born in 1944, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Boston College in 1966 and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford. He became a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1973, and was chair of the MIT department of physics from 1991 to 1995.
From 1995 to 1997, Moniz served as the associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy under the Clinton administration. He was also the Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001. In 2006, Moniz became the first director of the MIT Energy Initiative, where he has worked on a variety of interdisciplinary projects related to environmental issues.
At MIT, Moniz is currently the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems and Director of the Energy Initiative and the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. He also serves on the Board of Directors for ICF International, a consulting firm with clients in the energy market, among other industries.
When announcing the nomination, Obama called Moniz a “brilliant scientist” and said that he hopes the Senate approves the nomination “as soon as possible.”
“Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate,” Obama said.