Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, November 9, 2000
Sidney Drell named winner of Fermi Award for contributions to arms control

President Clinton on Thursday named Sidney Drell, a physicist and professor emeritus at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), a winner of the Enrico Fermi Award, which is given for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy. Drell will receive the award for his contributions to arms control and national security and to particle physics. Also named were Sheldon Datz, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for his pioneering research in atomic and chemical physics, and Herbert York, emeritus director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, for his efforts for nuclear deterrence and arms control agreements.

"These scientists have made important contributions in the fields of chemistry and physics," Clinton said. "Their pioneering work in the very complex area of arms control has benefited our nation and the world."

As a high-energy physicist, Drell, 74, has carried out important theoretical work in quantum electrodynamics and helped guide long-range planning of national accelerator laboratories.

"I'm very honored to receive this award, one that has been given to some of the great leaders in modern nuclear science," Drell said. "I'm also very pleased that both aspects of my work have been recognized: my contributions to fundamental theoretical physics and to technical national security issues."

Drell earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois. He served as deputy director of SLAC until 1998 and since then has been senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. As an arms control specialist, Drell has been an adviser to the federal government on national security and defense technical issues. He is a founding member of the prestigious group of scientific advisers known as JASON. Drell said that he was particularly gratified "that we have a technical basis for U.S. support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) that is consistent with our national security. The CTBT is an important component of our effort to reduce nuclear danger in today's heavily nuclear world and I support its ratification by the U.S. Senate."

The winners will each receive a gold medal and a $66,000 honorarium. The Department of Energy administers the Fermi Award for the White House, and Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson will present the awards on Dec. 18 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Fermi Award, the government's oldest science and technology award, dates back to 1956. It honors the memory of Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists who, on Dec. 2, 1942, achieved the first self-sustained, controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. Among the first recipients were physicists John von Neumann, Ernest O. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer.