How did he get the Energy Secretary job in the first place?
In 2008, he advocated for gasoline prices to rise to $8-$9 to curb demand… and, of course, economics is what drives how people use energy.
From Chu’s Stanford interview:
Washington, D.C. would seem to be a good place to implement these types of change. What drew you back to Stanford?
It was simply time for a change, but I hope to continue working on some of the same issues. For instance, while I was secretary of the DOE, I became very interested in the economics of energy. At Stanford, I can walk across campus and work with hardcore numerical people and economists to rethink the way we analyze data and energy.
It’s also a chance to stimulate interest in students and young people. In the academic world, you can establish new ways of looking at things, and you generate students and postdocs and can collaborate with other talented professors to do something that works, and then pass it on and it spreads dramatically. I’ve had something like 45 students in my group, and more than 30 of them are now professors around the world, and they have students, and some of those scientific children have children, and they have more. I have scientific great-grandchildren! That’s how you have lasting influence in a certain sense. If you teach students how to think in a different way, that’s how you move forward. [Emphasis added]