Photo of Sidney D. Drell

Sidney D. Drell

  • National Medal of Science
  • Physical Sciences

For contributions to quantum field theory and quantum chromodynamics, application of science to inform national policies in security and intelligence, and distinguished contributions as an advisor to the United States Government.”

Sidney Drell defines accelerators and colliders

Sidney Drell’s contributions to science and humanity range from expanding the boundaries of knowledge in high-energy particle physics to advising senior government leaders on defense issues.

Drell, a physicist, was Deputy Director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, contributing key research in quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics, tackling topics ranging from the interaction of light and matter to the properties of quarks and gluons.

Drell was a founding member of the JASON group, which advises the U.S. government on science and defense matters. He has also led government panels on national security issues and served stints on the U.S. President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and Science Advisory Committee.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Drell earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Illinois. In addition to Stanford, he has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was deputy director of the Stanford accelerator center from 1969 to 1998.

He is an expert on arms control and 2006 worked with former U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz to start a program to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

By Robert Warren