Sidney D. Drell

Sidney D. Drell, MA, PhD

Professor and Deputy Director at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Emeritus and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, at the Hoover Institution

2575 Sand Hill Rd
Mailstop 0080
Menlo Park, California 94025

(650) 926-2664 (voice)

Research Interests

Theoretical physics, national security, arms control


Sidney D. Drell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of theoretical physics (emeritus) at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University. He also co-founded CISAC, and jointly directed it from 1983 to 1989.

Drell, who served as SLAC's deputy director until retiring in 1998, is a theoretical physicist and arms control specialist. He has been active as an adviser to the executive and legislative branches of government on national security and defense technical issues for more than four decades.

Drell is one of the original members of JASON, a group of academic scientists who consult for the government on issues of national importance, and a member of the governing board of LANS, which he currently manages, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Most recently, he was a member of the advisory committee to the National Nuclear Security Administration, and chaired the senior review board for the Intelligence Technology Innovation Center.

Drell has served as chair of the Panel on Nuclear Weapons Safety of the House Armed Services Committee, the Technology Review Panel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the U.C. President's Council that oversees Los Alamos, Lawrence Berkeley, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.

From 1992 to 2001, Drell served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He has also been a member of the Commission on Maintaining U.S. Nuclear Weapons Expertise and the President's Science Advisory Committee and has consulted for the National Security Council, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

In 2000, Drell was awarded the Enrico Fermi Award, the nation's oldest award in science and technology, for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy. Also in 2000, he was awarded the University of California Presidential Medal "for exemplary contributions to the University, the national laboratories, and the cause of science in the public interest."

Drell was one of ten scientists honored in 2000 as "founders of national reconnaissance as a space discipline" by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. He was named the Linus Pauling lecturer and medalist at Stanford University for 1999–2000 for his many "outstanding contributions to science."

Drell is the coauthor, with J.D. Bjorken, of two books on relativistic quantum mechanics and fields that have been widely translated and used for more than 30 years. His 1983 Danz Lectures at the University of Washington were published under the title Facing the Threat of Nuclear Weapons (revised and reissued in 1989). In 1993, a collection of his writings and congressional testimony was published in the American Institute of Physics' Masters of Modern Physics series by the American Institute of Physics under the title In the Shadow of the Bomb: Physics and Arms Control. Also in 1993 the Council on Foreign Relations published Reducing Nuclear Danger, which Drell coauthored with McGeorge Bundy and William J. Crowe Jr.

Drell collaborated with Hoover senior fellow Abraham Sofaer on a major conference on biological and chemical weapons in 1998. They edited a volume based on the conference proceedings, The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons (Hoover Press, 1999). Drell also organized a conference reviewing the legacy of Andrei Sakharov in 1999, marking the tenth anniversary of Sakharov's death. In 2006, together with Hoover distinguished fellow George Shultz, he held a major conference, Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary.

In 2007, Hoover Institution Press published his most recent book Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary: Conference Report, coauthored with Hoover Distinguished Fellow George P. Shultz. In 2003, Hoover Press also published The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons, coauthored with James Goodby. In 2007, World Scientific Press (Singapore) published a selection of his papers on arms control with the title Nuclear Weapons, Scientists, and the Post-Cold War Challenge.

Drell received his AB from Princeton University, his PhD from the University of Illinois in physics, and honorary degrees from the University of Illinois, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the University of Tel Aviv.