President backs Moniz for DOE

Ernest Moniz

March 5, 2013. Physicist Ernest Moniz, an MIT professor with plenty of Washington experience, is President Barack Obama's choice to head the Department of Energy (DOE).

Ernest J. Moniz (born 1944) is an American nuclear physicist who is a Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, Director of the Energy Initiative, and Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On March 4, 2013, Moniz was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu for his second term. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the U. S. Senate.

Moniz, grandson of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores archipelago, graduated from Durfee High School in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1962, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and was the president of the school's math club. Moniz attended Boston College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Physics in 1966, and he later received his Ph.D in Theoretical physics from Stanford University in 1972. He joined the faculty of MIT in 1973, serving as Head of the Department of Physics from 1991 to 1995 and as Director of the Bates Linear Accelerator Center. He also co-chairs the MIT research council.

Moniz served in the Clinton administration as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President from 1995 to 1997. Moniz also worked in the United States Department of Energy, serving as Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001.

Moniz was considered a not to have a shot among the Washington insiders behind several nonscientists with political ties. Despite being targeted by opponents of nuclear power and fracking, Moniz is getting good reviews from mainstream groups. DOE has oversight of the nation's nuclear weapons complex, running facilities for basic researchers, and setting energy efficiency standards.