Hoover Institution Press Publishes Sidney D. Drell: Into The Heart Of Matter, Passionately

Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Hoover Institution (Stanford, CA) – The Hoover Institution has published Sidney D. Drell: Into the Heart of Matter, Passionately, by Lenora Ferro and Susan Southworth. This portrait examines the life and legacy of the nuclear physicist, violinist, family man, beloved friend, humanitarian in service to his country, and passionate advocate of peace and global stability, revealed through the words of people who knew Drell best.

A nuclear physicist of the first order, Drell’s brilliant contributions to the field of physics flourished at Stanford University and its linear particle accelerator, and would eventually carry over to a life of public service. He joined an elite group of scientists known as Jason, which advised the government on sensitive technological matters. Drell understood the devastation of war and the threat that nuclear arms posed to global peace and security, and he committed himself to fighting for their safety and disarmament. He also stood up for civil and human rights, in particular as advocate and friend of Russian dissident and physicist Andrei Sakharov.

Drell won awards for his efforts in science and nuclear nonproliferation. He was also an influential mentor who impacted dozens of individuals from all walks of life, many of whom were interviewed for this publication.

Themes and topics of this portrait include Drell’s career at Stanford and his work as leader of the theory group at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory; his brilliant achievements in physics, most notably the development of the Drell-Yan process, an important basis for the discovery of the Higgs boson particle; his contributions to Jason and its controversies at the height of the Vietnam War; his commitment to  protecting the world from the dangers of nuclear weapons alongside the “Gang of Four” (George P. Shultz, William Perry, Sam Nunn, and Henry Kissinger) at the Hoover Institution; his advocacy for civil and human rights; his life as a husband, father, colleague, teacher, and mentor; and his passion for music and literature.

“It was Sid’s integrity coupled with his reliable and trustworthy ability to be diplomatic but also to be a fierce advocate for everything he valued that made him the all-around go-to guy I wanted with me at Hoover,” the late secretary of state and Hoover distinguished fellow George P. Shultz wrote in the foreword. “Now his legacy rests with us. But it also must be revived as the exemplary and inspiring guidance that is so desperately needed in these times of uncertainty and divisiveness.”

Sydney D. Drell: Into the Heart of Matter, Passionately is available in hardcover and e-book formats. Click here to purchase.

About the Authors

Lenora Ferro, Bay Area writer, and the late Susan Southworth, longtime aide-de-camp to former secretary of state George Shultz at the Hoover Institution, previously collaborated on George P. Shultz—A Tribute: Tales from the First Ninety Years.

Advance Praise for Sidney D. Drell: Into the Heart of Matter, Passionately

“While much has been written about Sid’s transcendent technical contributions to physics and arms control policy, this book goes to the essence of Sid—what made him so able to achieve these lofty heights. In it we see his humanity, his sense of humor, his delight in the puzzles of the world, and we should see a template for living our own lives. His words can still offer direction and the sparkle that was Sid.”

—William J. Perry, 19th US secretary of defense

“More than a brilliant physicist, Sid was a humanitarian who worked tirelessly to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, understanding that their use could lead to the destruction of mankind. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him in advancing dialogue toward agreements between our countries. If only such efforts could continue.”

—Boris Ioffe, Russian physicist

“This story shows that extraordinary men still walk the earth. In the midst of the Cold War and beyond, Sid Drell proved a man for all seasons, wisely guiding mankind’s hopes to overcome our worst fears. In the process he demonstrated his genius for living a full and meaningful life, a heartening gift he has left us all.”

—James Mattis, 26th US secretary of defense

“This excellent, warmly written chronicle of Sid Drell’s life provides lessons into the power of passion, integrity, and basic decency and the importance of character. Through Sid’s own words and those of his friends and colleagues, this book shows how Sid applied his values and exceptional abilities to both science and service to the nation and will help cement Sid’s place as one of the most important physicists of our generation.”

—George H. Miller, director emeritus, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“Today, at a time when the international nuclear arms control is facing difficulties, I miss Dr. Drell even more. His insights and courage in advancing nuclear arms control inspire us to continue our efforts. I sincerely hope that the cooperation between Chinese and American scientists and arms control experts will be strengthened to inject new vitality into China-US relations and arms control process.”

—Hu Side, academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and senior advisor, Chinese Scientists Group on Arms Control

For coverage opportunities, contact Jeffrey Marschner, 202-760-3187, jmarsch [at] stanford.edu.