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Meet Steve Koonin, Chu's Science Man at DOE

Another brainy Steve has joined the Obama Administration's science effort. Steven Koonin, a former provost of the California Institute of Technology who has been BP's chief scientist for the past 4 years, was nominated last week for the position of under secretary for science at the Department of Energy. Koonin, pictured on the right, will join two other high-profile scientists at DOE, Secretary Steven Chu (left) and recently nominated Under Secretary for Energy Kristina Johnson, currently provost at Johns Hopkins University. Koonin and Chu know each other well. Nature gets the basics on their connections, which involve a BP-funded, $500 million research program on biofuels and other new sources of energy. Now Koonin will run a rapidly expanding research program that is already the largest funder of physical sciences in the country.

(PHOTO: Lawrence Berkeley National Labs)