Sidney D. Drell, 2000


For his major contributions to arms control and national security in studies showing that a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is compatible with maintaining the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons; and for providing practical and innovative solutions to national security problems and nuclear weapons safety in general. He has also made major contributions to our understanding of elementary particles.


Dr. Sidney Drell is a physicist and arms control specialist. He is especially well known for bringing the issues of national security and arms control to the public forum, both in the United States and internationally. He has done much to foster the growth of these subjects as an academic discipline, and has consequently helped train many of the Nation's leading advisors in these areas.

He has written several books for the general public, including Facing the Threat of Nuclear Weapons (1983), The Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative: A Technical, Political, and Arms Control Assessment (with Farley and Holloway, 1984), Sidney Drell on Arms Control (1988), Sakharov Remembered: A tribute by Friends and Colleagues (1991), In the Shadow of the Bomb: Physics and Arms Control (1993), and Reducing Nuclear Danger (with McGeorge Bundy and William J. Crowe, Jr., 1993).

Dr. Drell has been a leader in providing essential technical advice to the Government on the safety, reliability, and performance of U.S. nuclear weapons and their long-term stewardship. The list of organizations for which he provided advice are impressive indeed, including the following: the White House, the U.S. Defense Science Board Task Force, the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; the National Security Council, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress; and the House Armed Services Committee Panel on Nuclear Weapons Safety (Chairman), among others.

In high-energy physics research, he carried out important theoretical work on the use of electromagnetic interactions as an experimental probe into the structure of protons and other strongly interacting particles. In addition to publishing extensively in theoretical physics journals, he co-authored three textbooks that have been widely translated and used for more than 30 years: Electromagnetic Structure of Nucleons (with F. Zachariasen, 1961); and Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Relativistic Quantum Fields (with J.D. Bjorken, 1964 and 1965, respectively). As a theoretical physicist, he worked closely with experimenters and helped guide the enormously successful series of experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. At the national level, he helped guide long-range planning of accelerator laboratories.

Sidney D. Drell was born in Atlantic City in 1926. He earned his B.A. degree from Princeton University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. His special fields were Elementary Particle Physics and Quantum Theory.

Currently, Dr. Drell is is active in the following advisory groups: the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Non-Proliferation Advisory Panel to the U.S. Government, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, the Board of Governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and a member of the prestigious group of scientific advisors called JASONS.

He has received numerous honors, including: Guggenheim Fellowships (1961and 1971), the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award of the Department of Energy (1972), University of Illinois Alumni Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering (1973), Richtmyer Memorial Lecturer to the American Association of Physics Teachers (1978), Leo Szlilard Award for Physics in the Public Interest of the American Physical Society (1980), Honorary Doctorate from the University of Illinois , Chicago Circle (1981), John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize (1984-98), the 1983 Honoree of the Natural Resources Defense Council for work in arms control, the Lewis M. Terman Professor and Fellow, Stanford University (1979-1984), Hilliard Roderick Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993), Woodrow Wilson Award of Princeton University (1994), Co-recipient of the Ettore Majorana-Erice Science for Peace Prize (1994), Gian Carlo Wick Commemorative Medal Award of the ICSC-World Laboratory (World Laboratory Centre for Pan-American Collaboration in Science & Technology, 1996), and the I. Ya Pomeranchuk Prize of the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow (1998).

Dr Drell belongs to the following professional and honorary societies: Fellow and former-President of the American Physical Society, National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and the Academia Europaea.

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Last modified: 1/9/2014 6:11:36 PM