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Obama named Nobel Prize-winning physicist and California professor Steven Chu as his Energy secretary.
Chu was confronted by questions about coal usage in his appearance Jan. 13 before the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Chu, who has strong environmental credentials and often calls global warming a key problem, once called coal "my worst nightmare" because of its emissions. But coal is a major U.S, resource, and its use is not likely to end soon. In his hearing, he came out strongly in favor of clean coal technology, which seemed to satisfy the committee.
The son of Chinese immigrants, Chu won the Nobel Prize for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.