Perhaps the most urgent problems facing humanity involved how we produce energy, and perhaps no one has been more deeply involved than you in both the science and the public policy of those challenges. Your research has tested fundamental theories in atomic physics, quantum electronics, and energy, along with biophysics and biomedicine. Your work on laser cooling atoms earned you a Nobel. During your four years as the first scientist to serve as secretary of energy, you promoted high-end research on energy solutions, much of it focused on collaborations between scientists and engineers. These efforts hold the promise of vast, long-lasting effects. While in office, you also played high-profile roles in the response to two of the most dramatic environmental emergencies of our time, being credited with leading the effort that figured out how to plug the Deep Horizon leak in the Gulf of Mexico, and with guiding the government of Japan’s management of the tsunami-damaged nuclear reactors at Fukushima. In fact, you could be the model for a new caped action figure: Energy Man, mild-mannered researcher by day, globe-traveling hero by night. Now that you are back at your Clark Kent-ish role at Stanford, it is most appropriate, given your double life, that your appointment is as professor of both humanities and sciences.
I hereby declare you recipient of the honorary degree Doctor of Science, entitled to all the rights, honors, and privileges appertaining thereto.
June 8, 2014