Skip to main content

Add Steven Chu on facebook



I've long gotten over the novelty of being able to "add" famous physicists like Isaac Newton, Richard Feynman, and James Clerk Maxwell as friends on Facebook. Fans have their choice of several online impersonators, of varying degrees of convincingness, for each scientific luminary. But in between hanging out with astronauts and watching Toy Box videos, I somehow missed the fact that Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has joined facebook.


Chu must be our most popular and recognizable Secretaries of Energy yet. I mean, can anyone even name a former secretary off the top of their heads? Maybe it's because Chu radiates that ineffable rock star aura known as Geek. He's smart, he bicycles, and he's the first Secretary of Energy who's actually a scientist. And not just your test-tube-shuffling, garden-variety boffin; Chu has a Nobel Prize. (And he's still publishing.)



But part of me raises an eyebrow at such a public figure using such a casual medium to speak to the public. It makes sense for celebrities; Ashton Kutcher has nearly three million fans, no doubt eagerly refreshing his facebook page every few minutes for the latest Ashton news. Barack Obama has over six million fans and uses the page to encourage voters to tweet about issues to congressmen. (He enjoys Stevie Wonder and Bach, and watches Sportscenter.)
Chu's page sits somewhere between the two as far as how engaging it is. His wall features a YouTube video of his recent appearance on the Daily Show, a link to a recent New York Times article about his "white roofs" obsession, and Flickr photos from a trip to China to meet with dignitaries. He's learning how to golf (is golf code for "playing with the other politicians?) and is interested in energy effficiency.

He's got over 5,000 fans—"talk about transparency, this is great" says one wall post. If nothing else, the page gives us this awesome photo of young Chu. (I predict a sudden rush on Buddy Holly glasses.) But is it really transparency? A typo in a recent wall post made me wonder, cynically, if Chu's facebook curator (someone must have the job) would be reprimanded later. On the other hand, when have politicans ever been so accessible?

Comments

  1. Melioria!

    htpp://tinyurl.com/ndr2jy

    (why can't I past in here, but pasting works in other physicscentral bloggs?)

    ReplyDelete
  2. oops, Meliora is the correct spelling.

    Anyway, the link didn't work either.

    Google the mellioraweekend at the University or Rochester, Oct 2009

    Steven Chu and Bill Maher are among the speakers.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

How 4,000 Physicists Gave a Vegas Casino its Worst Week Ever

What happens when several thousand distinguished physicists, researchers, and students descend on the nation’s gambling capital for a conference? The answer is "a bad week for the casino"—but you'd never guess why.

Ask a Physicist: Phone Flash Sharpie Shock!

Lexie and Xavier, from Orlando, FL want to know:
"What's going on in this video? Our science teacher claims that the pain comes from a small electrical shock, but we believe that this is due to the absorption of light. Please help us resolve this dispute!"

The Science of Ice Cream: Part One

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream.

(We've since updated this article to include the science behind vegan ice cream. To learn more about ice cream science, check out The Science of Ice Cream, Redux)

Over at Physics@Home there's an easy recipe for homemade ice cream. But what kind of milk should you use to make ice cream? And do you really need to chill the ice cream base before making it? Why do ice cream recipes always call for salt on ice?