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Press Release: President Clinton Names Enrico Fermi Award Winners
Stanford's Sidney Drell Honored

Date Issued: November 09, 2000


  • Office for Communications, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center: Telephone: 650-926-8703 Fax Number: 650-926-8793


  • Sidney Drell, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center: 1 (650)926-2664

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President Clinton today named Sidney Drell as a winner of the Enrico Fermi Award, given for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy. Dr. 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," President Clinton said. "Their pioneering work in the very complex area of arms control has benefited our nation and the world."

Dr. Sidney Drell, 74, is a physicist and professor emeritus at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Stanford University. "I'm very honored to receive this award, one that has been given to some of the great leaders in modern nuclear science. 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," said Drell.

As a high-energy physicist, Drell has carried out important theoretical work in quantum electrodynamics and helped guide long-range planning of national accelerator laboratories. Dr. Drell earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois. He was deputy director of SLAC until 1998 and has been senior fellow at the Hoover Institution since then. As an arms control specialist, Dr. Drell has been an advisor to the federal government on national security and defense technical issues. He is a founding member of the prestigious group of scientific advisors known as JASON. Drell commented that he was particularly gratified "that we have a technical basis for US support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that is consistent with our national security." He added, "The CTBT is an important component of our effort to reduce nuclear danger in today' heavily nuclear world and I support its ratification by the US 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 December 18 in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The Fermi Award, the government's oldest science and technology award, dates to 1956. It honors the memory of Enrico Fermi, leader of the group of scientists who, on December 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.

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