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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index C > Steven Chu Quotes

Thumbnail of Steven Chu (source)
Steven Chu
(28 Feb 1948 - )

American physicist who shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his research in laser cooling and trapping of atoms. He served as the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory from 2004.


Science Quotes by Steven Chu (14 quotes)

Steven Chu, while Secretary of Energy - head and shoulders
Steven Chu, while Secretary of Energy (source)
As the saying goes, the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions. The same opportunity lies before us with energy efficiency and clean energy.
— Steven Chu
In letter (1 Feb 2013) to Energy Department employees announcing his decision not to serve a second term.
Science quotes on:  |  Better (131)  |  End (141)  |  Energy (185)  |  Energy Efficiency (4)  |  Lie (80)  |  Opportunity (43)  |  French Saying (61)  |  Solution (168)  |  Stone (57)  |  Stone Age (8)  |  Transition (15)

Education in my family was not merely emphasized, it was our raison d'être. Virtually all of our aunts and uncles had Ph.D.s in science or engineering, and it was taken for granted that the next generation of Chu's were to follow the family tradition. When the dust had settled, my two brothers and four cousins collected three MDs, four Ph.D.s and a law degree. I could manage only a single advanced degree.
— Steven Chu
Autobiography in Gösta Ekspong (ed.), Nobel Lectures: Physics 1996-2000 (2002), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (227)  |  Education (280)  |  Family (37)

For the better part of my last semester at Garden City High, I constructed a physical pendulum and used it to make a “precision” measurement of gravity. The years of experience building things taught me skills that were directly applicable to the construction of the pendulum. Twenty-five years later, I was to develop a refined version of this measurement using laser-cooled atoms in an atomic fountain interferometer.
[Outcome of high school physics teacher, Thomas Miner, encouraging Chu's ambitious laboratory project.]
— Steven Chu
Autobiography in Gösta Ekspong (ed.), Nobel Lectures: Physics 1996-2000 (2002), 116.
Science quotes on:  |  Education (280)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Gravity (89)  |  Measurement (148)  |  Pendulum (13)

I approached the bulk of my schoolwork as a chore rather than an intellectual adventure. The tedium was relieved by a few courses that seem to be qualitatively different. Geometry was the first exciting course I remember. Instead of memorizing facts, we were asked to think in clear, logical steps. Beginning from a few intuitive postulates, far reaching consequences could be derived, and I took immediately to the sport of proving theorems.
— Steven Chu
Autobiography in Gösta Ekspong (ed.), Nobel Lectures: Physics 1996-2000 (2002), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (227)  |  Fact (609)  |  Geometry (99)  |  Logic (187)  |  Proof (192)  |  School (87)  |  Theorem (46)

I believe [the Department of Energy] should be judged not by the money we direct to a particular State or district, company, university or national lab, but by the character of our decisions. The Department of Energy serves the country as a Department of Science, a Department of Innovation, and a Department of Nuclear Security.
— Steven Chu
In letter (1 Feb 2013) to Energy Department employees announcing his decision not to serve a second term.
Science quotes on:  |  Belief (400)  |  Character (82)  |  Company (28)  |  Country (121)  |  Decision (58)  |  District (7)  |  Innovation (38)  |  Judge (43)  |  Money (125)  |  Nuclear (24)  |  Particular (54)  |  Science (1699)  |  Security (27)  |  Serve (34)  |  State (96)  |  University (51)

If I were emperor of the world, I would put the pedal to the floor on energy efficiency and conservation for the next decade.
— Steven Chu
Interview with Reuters (2007). Quoted in Ayesha Rascoe, 'Obama energy pick strong green voice: experts' on Reuters website (posted 11 Dec 2008).
Science quotes on:  |  Conservation (139)  |  Energy Efficiency (4)

If there is a regulation that says you have to do something—whether it be putting in seat belts, catalytic converters, clean air for coal plants, clean water—the first tack that the lawyers use, among others things, and that companies use, is that it's going to drive the electricity bill up, drive the cost of cars up, drive everything up. It repeatedly has been demonstrated that once the engineers start thinking about it, it's actually far less than the original estimates. We should remember that when we hear this again, because you will hear it again.
— Steven Chu
Talk (Apr 2007) quoted in 'Obama's Energy and Environment Team Includes a Nobel Laureate', Kent Garber, US News website (posted 11 Dec 2008).
Science quotes on:  |  Engineer (72)  |  Innovation (38)  |  Lawyer (18)  |  Money (125)  |  Regulation (18)  |  Technology (199)

In the summer after kindergarten, a friend introduced me to the joys of building plastic model airplanes and warships. By the fourth grade, I graduated to an erector set and spent many happy hours constructing devices of unknown purpose where the main design criterion was to maximize the number of moving parts and overall size. The living room rug was frequently littered with hundreds of metal “girders” and tiny nuts and bolts surrounding half-finished structures. An understanding mother allowed me to keep the projects going for days on end.
— Steven Chu
Autobiography in Gösta Ekspong (ed.), Nobel Lectures: Physics 1996-2000 (2002), 116.
Science quotes on:  |  Introduce (27)  |  Meccano (5)

I’ve always been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, who articulated his Dream of an America where people are judged not by skin color but “by the content of their character.” In the scientific world, people are judged by the content of their ideas. Advances are made with new insights, but the final arbitrator of any point of view are experiments that seek the unbiased truth, not information cherry picked to support a particular point of view.
— Steven Chu
In letter (1 Feb 2013) to Energy Department employees announcing his decision not to serve a second term.
Science quotes on:  |  Advance (123)  |  America (74)  |  Articulate (4)  |  Character (82)  |  Color (78)  |  Content (39)  |  Dream (92)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Idea (440)  |  Information (102)  |  Insight (57)  |  Inspire (35)  |  Judge (43)  |  Martin Luther King, Jr. (13)  |  New (340)  |  Particular (54)  |  People (269)  |  Point Of View (26)  |  Scientific (169)  |  Seek (57)  |  Skin (17)  |  Support (63)  |  Truth (750)  |  Unbiased (4)  |  View (115)  |  World (667)

Just refrigerator efficiency saves more energy than all that we're generating from renewables, excluding hydroelectric power... I cannot impress upon you how important energy efficiency is. It doesn't mean you eat lukewarm food and your beers are lukewarm. You can still have it; you just make a better thing
— Steven Chu
Talk (Summer 2008) quoted in 'Obama's Energy and Environment Team Includes a Nobel Laureate', Kent Garber, US News website (posted 11 Dec 2008).
Science quotes on:  |  Energy Efficiency (4)  |  Renewable Energy (11)

Science is really about describing the way the universe works in one aspect or another in all branches of science—how a life-form works, how this works, how that works. ... You have to have a natural curiosity for that.
— Steven Chu
Quoted in press release 'Steven Chu Named Sixth Lab Director' (2004) on Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory websire.
Science quotes on:  |  Curiosity (89)  |  Science (1699)  |  Universe (563)

Suppose you had a small electrical fire and... a structural engineer [looked] at your home’s wiring [and] reports that the wiring is “shot” and there is a 50% chance that your house would burn down in the next few years unless you replace all the wiring. The job will cost $20,000... so you get an independent assessment. The next engineer agrees with the first warning. You can either continue to shop for additional evaluations until you find the one engineer in 1,000 that is willing to give you the answer you want, “Your family is not in danger” or you can change the wiring.
[Comparing the urgency of action on climate change to a problem with electrical wiring in a house.]
— Steven Chu
From press conference at National Press Club (17 Sep 2008), 'Basic Research: Fueling America's Future'. Quoted on the Science Coalition website.
Science quotes on:  |  Climate Change (56)  |  Danger (62)

Sustainable energy is the equivalent of the U.S. moon shot.
— Steven Chu
Quoted in Andrew C. Revkin, 'Panel Urges Global Shift on Sources of Energy', New York Times (23 Oct 2007).

While we cannot accurately predict the course of climate change in the coming decades, the risks we run if we don’t change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction.
— Steven Chu
In letter (1 Feb 2013) to Energy Department employees announcing his decision not to serve a second term.
Science quotes on:  |  Accurately (6)  |  Climate Change (56)  |  Course (57)  |  Decade (19)  |  Enormous (33)  |  Equate (3)  |  Inaction (2)  |  Management (10)  |  Predict (12)  |  Prudent (3)  |  Risk (29)  |  Uncertainty (37)


See also:
  • 28 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Chu's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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