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CISAC mourns loss of co-founder Sidney Drell

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Sidney Drell
Photo credit: 
©Christian Pease

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies is saddened at the passing of Sidney Drell: emeritus professor of theoretical physics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and founding co-director of FSI’s Center for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC), now known as the Center for International Security and Cooperation.

“Sid Drell was a giant in the field of physics, who demonstrated through his tireless efforts how and why practicing scientists play a critical role in informing national security policy,” says CISAC co-director David Relman. “In the latter part of his career especially, and as the founding science co-director at CISAC, Sid addressed some of the most important threats to mankind and grappled with some of the most complex technical issues to confront national leaders.”

A faculty member at Stanford since 1950, when he joined the physics department as an instructor, Drell dedicated his life’s work to fighting nuclear proliferation. He was heavily involved in policy throughout his career, serving as an original member of JASON (an elite group of academic scientists who advise the government on national security and defense issues) and on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. His many awards included the National Medal of Science, a Macarthur fellowship, and the Heinz award for contributions to public policy.

“[Drell] spoke passionately about the moral responsibilities of scientists, and in this way was an inspiration to us all,” recalls Relman. “He will be sorely missed.”