As US readers have probably heard by now, Steve Chu has been selected by President-Elect Obama to be the new Secretary of Energy. I think that this is very good news. He's extremely smart, and he's been involved in pretty much the entire research enterprise, from his days at Bell Labs to running a research group at Stanford to serving as department chair to acting as director at LBL. He's been actively worrying about both basic and applied research and understands the actual energy demands of the country and the world. As the finance folks say, past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results, but this appointment gives me real cause for optimism. Steve Chu is extremely qualified for this.