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The Washington Post has a nice - if a bit breathless - profile of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. It shows how this man is infusing new life into a department that was mostly directed by people without much scientific or technical knowledge in the past (Dr. Chu is a Nobel-winning physicist, while the previous 11 energy secretaries were: a financier, three business executives, an admiral, two governors, a U.S. senator and other politicians), and trying to plant R&D; seeds that will probably blossom into very important clean technologies in the coming years and decades.Here's a choice quotes from the WP article:
Chu's scientific bent was unexpectedly useful over the summer, when the Obama administration was desperate to stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Chu was dispatched to BP's Houston offices to see what could be done.
He recommended that BP use gamma rays to see into the blowout preventer; its several inches of steel were obscuring other methods of figuring out whether the shear rams were clamping into the drill pipe.
He also tapped into his Stanford network to get names of engineers who could give advice, and he told Obama early on that the flow rate of oil pouring into the gulf might be greater than what BP was letting on. Weeks later, he marveled about how little innovation there was in the deep-water drilling business and how few gauges and backup mechanisms were installed on the blowout preventer.
But his crash course in the perils of offshore drilling has reinforced his concern about energy efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels.
But I recommend that you read the whole thing.
Via Washington Post
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