Ernest Jeffrey Moniz, GCIH (born December 22, 1944) is an American nuclear physicist and the former United States Secretary of Energy, serving under U.S. President Barack Obama from May 2013 to January 2017. In June 2017, Moniz became co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to prevent catastrophic attacks with weapons of mass destruction and disruption--nuclear, biological, radiological and cyber. He served as the Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States from 1995 to 1997 and was Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001 during the Clinton Administration.
Moniz is one of the founding members of The Cyprus Institute and has served at Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, as the Director of the Energy Initiative, and as the Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.
On March 4, 2013, Moniz was nominated by President Obama to replace outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu for his second term. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate in a unanimous vote on May 16, 2013.
Moniz was born in 1944 in Fall River, Massachusetts, the son of Georgina (Pavão) Moniz and Ernest Perry Moniz, both of whose parents were Portuguese immigrants from São Miguel Island, Azores. He 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 summa cum laude in physics. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford University in 1972.
Moniz joined the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (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 co-chairs the MIT research council. He 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 worked in the United States Department of Energy, serving as Under Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 2001. Moniz is one of the founding members of The Cyprus Institute, where he and other scholars undertook the coordination, research and planning of the project. In 2013, he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid as a recognition of his research on energy policies and technologies.
On May 16, 2013, his appointment was confirmed on a 97–0 vote by the Senate. He succeeded Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. Moniz was sworn in as Energy Secretary on May 21, 2013 by Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman.
Secretary Moniz played a crucial role in negotiations toward a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, directly negotiating technical details with the Iranian atomic energy minister Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT graduate, and reassuring President Obama that concessions important to the Iranians would not pose a major threat. The comprehensive agreement between Iran and the so-called "P5+1" (which includes the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and a representative from the European Union) was finalized on July 14, 2015, to much fanfare and criticism. Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry, Portugal
Fellow, American Academy of Arts & Sciences