Friday, April 8, 2011

'No Home Run Yet' for ARPA-E, but Chief Says 'Motivated' Team's on Track

In February, Chu made Majumdar the acting undersecretary for energy, giving him oversight of some of DOE's most prominent programs and perhaps hinting at Chu's plans for the wider agency. But it is still unclear whether Majumdar will take the position permanently; DOE has been silent on the issue, and Majumdar will only say that he leaves the decision to Chu and President Obama. In the meantime, Majumdar has taken on both jobs with enthusiasm, joking that he sometimes sleeps four or five hours a night. He also manages to fit in trips every few weeks to Berkeley, where his wife and two teenage daughters still live. That kind of cheerful dedication suited him well at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he was the director for the Environmental Energy and Technologies Division for about three years. Ashok Gadgil, who was Majumdar's deputy and now heads the division, said Majumdar could often be seen talking with employees next to a whiteboard filled with formulas. More>