U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz became the nation's Mona Lisa during Tuesday's State of the Union address, with Americans searching his face for answers, or, at the very least, quips. During President Barack Obama's speech, Moniz's SOTU reaction face instantly became an Internet meme, with social media users poking fun at his "funny" face. While being the object of Internet teasing is never desirable, the lighthearted joking helped introduce the nation to a federal employee with whom many were unfamiliar before the State of the Union address.
Here's what we know about Moniz based on his official profile: "Prior to his appointment, Moniz was the Cecil and Ida Green professor of physics and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he had been a faculty member since 1973. At MIT, he headed the Department of Physics and the Bates Linear Accelerator Center. Most recently, Moniz served as the founding director of the MIT Energy Initiative and as director of the MIT Laboratory for Energy and the Environment where he was a leader of multidisciplinary technology and policy studies on the future of nuclear power, coal, nuclear fuel cycles, natural gas and solar energy in a low-carbon world.
"From 1997 until January 2001, Moniz served as undersecretary of the Department of Energy. He was responsible for overseeing the department’s science and energy programs, leading a comprehensive review of nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and serving as the secretary’s special negotiator for the disposition of Russian nuclear materials. From 1995 to 1997, he served as associate director for science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President."
Moniz received a bachelor of science degree in physics from Boston College, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford University, and honorary degrees from the University of Athens, the University of Erlangen-Nurenberg, Michigan State University and Universidad Pontificia de Comillas.
â€” Funny Or Die (@funnyordie) January 21, 2015
Twitter wasn't impressed by his credentials, however.
â€” Lars Hannula (@NickHannula) January 21, 2015
Sec. Energy Ernest Moniz be all like: pic.twitter.com/5q45zUfOr8
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 21, 2015
Here’s Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, just trying to stay awake like the rest of us. pic.twitter.com/RfOHK4ASqb
â€” Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) January 21, 2015
— Julie McClain (@McClainJulie) January 21, 2015