Future of Energy: Steven Koonin

October 20, 2010 – "Energy Innovation at Scale"
Steven Koonin, Under Secretary for Science, U.S. Department of Energy

The Under Secretary for Science plays a key role in defining and enabling science programs that knit the US Department of Energy together and lead to significant energy and security research efforts. In this role, Under Secretary Steven E. Koonin acts as the Department's chief research officer, identifying synergies and gaps in research programs, looking after the health of National Laboratory activities, and ensuring that sound science and technology underpin everything the Department does. In addition, Dr. William F. Brinkman, Director of the Office of Science, reports to Under Secretary Koonin. Together they set Science's strategic direction, help resolve the more difficult operational problems, and ensure its connectivity within and outside the Department. The Office of the Under Secretary for Science was created by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Dr. Koonin's research interests have included nuclear astrophysics; theoretical nuclear, computational, and many-body physics; and global environmental science. He has been involved in scientific computing throughout his career and is a strong advocate for research into renewable energies and alternate fuel sources. His academic research (Caltech) in computational and nuclear physics has impacted the direction of science both nationally and internationally. He has supervised more than 25 PhD students, produced more than 200 peer-reviewed research publications, and authored or edited 3 books, including a pioneering textbook on Computational Physics in 1985.