Sidney D. Drell

Senior Fellow, Emeritus
Awards and Honors:
NNSA Administrator's Gold Medal of Excellence
Reykjavik Award
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Philosophical Society
National Academy of Sciences

Sidney D. Drell passed away on December 21, 2016.

Sidney D. Drell was an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor of theoretical physics emeritus at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where he served as deputy director until retiring in 1998. An arms control specialist, he has advised the executive and legislative branches of government on national security and technical defense issues for more than four decades. From 1983 to 1989, he was the founding codirector of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Drell also served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the President’s Science Advisory Committee. He chaired 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 Senior Review Board of the Intelligence Community’s Technology Innovation Center.

In 2006 Drell, together with former secretary of state George P. Shultz, initiated a program at the Hoover Institution that would initiate steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Their latest coedited publication is The Nuclear Enterprise: High-Consequence Accidents: How to Enhance Safety and Minimize Risks in Nuclear Weapons and Reactors (Hoover Institution Press, 2012).

In recognition of his achievements, Drell has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science (2011); the Enrico Fermi Award, the nation's oldest award in science and technology; a fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation; the Heinz Award for contributions in public policy; the Rumford Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. Drell was one of ten scientists honored as “founders of national reconnaissance as a space discipline” by the US National Reconnaissance Office. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society and was president of the American Physical Society in 1986.

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.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons

The Gravest Danger: Nuclear Weapons

by James Goodby, Sidney D. Drellvia Hoover Institution Press
Friday, April 16, 2010

"To avoid nuclear war and to contain and gradually to diminish the potential for nuclear devastation: these are the most compelling imperatives of our time."

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Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (complete report)

via Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is the complete report from the Hoover Institution’s "Reykjavik Revisited" conference, held in October 2007.

book cover

A World Without Nuclear Weapons: End-State Issues

by Sidney D. Drell, James Goodbyvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A world without nuclear weapons is a goal worth pursuing in itself. Beyond that, and most importantly, endeavoring to achieve that goal will also invigorate efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But the road will not be an easy one.

Analysis and Commentary

The nuclear threat: a new start

by Sidney D. Drell with William J. Perry, George P. Shultzvia Physics World (UK)
Monday, February 2, 2009

President Obama has said that he intends to “make the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons a central element in [US] nuclear policy”...

Reykjavik Revisited by Shultz, Drell, and Goodby

Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (preliminary report)

via Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This preliminary report from Hoover Institution’s "Reykjavik Revisited" conference, held in October 2007, examines the practical steps required to address the nuclear threat and to move toward the goal established by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev at their historic 1986 m

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Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary: Conference Report

via Hoover Institution Press
Monday, June 16, 2008

At their October 1986 meeting in Reykjavik, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed on the need to eliminate nuclear weapons. That historic meeting ultimately led to the end of the cold war.

Analysis and Commentary

In memoriam: Pief Panofsky (1919-2007)

by Sidney D. Drellvia Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pief's humanity, integrity, and commitment to principles were the hallmark of his life, and earned him universal respect above and beyond the admiration for him as a physicist and creator of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)...

The Shadow of the Bomb, 2006

by Sidney D. Drellvia Policy Review
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Keeping nukes away from bad actors

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The Gravest Danger

by James Goodby, Sidney D. Drellvia Hoover Digest
Friday, January 30, 2004

Nuclear weapons could only too easily fall into the hands of rogue states and terrorists. Hoover fellow Sidney Drell and James Goodby explain how to prevent that from happening.

Andrei Sakharov and the Nuclear Danger

by Sidney D. Drellvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2000

A decade after the death of Andrei Sakharov, his views remain both trenchant and relevant. By Hoover fellow Sidney D. Drell.