What Matters to Me and Why Upcoming Speakers

May 4, 12:00 noon – 1:00 pm
CIRCLE Common Room (Old Union, 3rd floor)

Sidney and Persis Drell

Sidney DrellSidney D. Drell is a 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.


Persis DrellPersis S. Drell is the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering and professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Physics at Stanford University.

Prior to assuming the post of dean in September 2014, Drell was the director of U.S. Department of Energy SLAC National Acceleratory Laboratory from 2007 to 2012.

Drell received her B.A. in mathematics and physics from Wellesley College in 1977. She received her Ph.D. in atomic physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1983. She joined the faculty of the Physics Department at Cornell University in 1988. In 2002, Dr. Drell accepted a position as Professor and Associate Director, Research Division at SLAC. In 2007 she was named Director at SLAC. She stepped down from the SLAC Directorship in 2012 and returned to the Stanford faculty focusing her research on technology development for free electron lasers and particle astrophysics.

Drell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. She has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award.


Select Wednesdays, 12 noon – 1:00 pm
CIRCLE Common Room, Old Union 3rd floor (Map)

Autumn Quarter 2015

November 4
Connie Wolf
John and Jill Freidenrich Director, Cantor Arts Center

Winter Quarter 2016

January 13
Lucy Shapiro
Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor, Developmental Biology
Article: What Matters to Lucy Shapiro and Why, Scope published by Stanford Medicine 1.14.16

February 17
Allyson Hobbs
Assistant Professor, Department of History
Article: Storytelling Matters to Stanford Historian Allyson Hobbs, Stanford Dish 2.19.16

Spring Quarter 2016

April 27
John L. Hennessy

May 4
Father and daughter:

Sidney Drell
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Professor of Theoretical Physics Emeritus and former Deputy Director, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory,

Persis Drell
Frederick Emmons Terman Dean, School of Engineering