Reports are the Obama will nominate Nobel Prize Winning physicist Steven Chu to be Secretary of Energy. Chu is currently the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, a large Department of Energy lab that is a leader in alternative energy.
I mean, wow! What a change from the indifference (at best) to the hostility (at worst) toward sciecne we have had for the last 8 years. His scientific creds are impeccable...he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 which is about as high of a science award as they get. He also knows his energy from solar to wind to clean coal to nuclear and yes, even oil, and has written about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Some are criticizing his lack of political experience. Running a huge lab with thousands of international collaborators definitely involves managing politics! In his position, he works with national governments around the world coordinating research projects. It may not be the traditional Washington experience, but he definitely knows something about politics (and I find it odd that the same people who criticized Obama for naming too many people who served with Clinton also criticize the first time he names a true Washington outsider, but that's another story!)
I am sure he has to learn a little about Washington politics and hope he gets a couple of seaoned assistants to help him out. At least no one will need to talk down to him when explaining the science!
Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicst Blog.