Persis Drell ’77 is a professor at Stanford University and was deputy director at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) until 2011. She is considered to be one of a handful of international leaders in particle physics.
After graduating from Wellesley with a dual major in mathematics and physics, she earned her Ph.D. in atomic physics in 1983 from the University of California, Berkeley. She then switched to high-energy experimental physics and worked as a postdoctoral scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In 1988 Dr. Drell joined the faculty of the Physics Department at Cornell University, where she focused on particle physics. While at Cornell, she served as deputy director of the university’s particle accelerator facility and as the leader of the university’s experimental program in particle physics. At the time, this experimental program, CLEO, was widely considered to be the leader in the field.
In 2002, Dr. Drell accepted a position as professor and director of research at Stanford University’s Linear Acceleration Center (SLAC), one of the two largest and most important facilities in the country. In 2005, she was named Deputy Director of SLAC and Director of Particle and Particle Astrophysics. Her current research activities are in particle astrophysics.
Her recent activities include chairing the HEPAP subcommittee that produced the “Quantum Universe” report and serving on the COSEPUP/BPA Committee on Setting Priorities for National Science Foundation-Sponsored Large Research Facilities for the National Academy of Science in 2003.
Dr. Drell has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, and she is a fellow of the American Physical Society. Discover Magazine named her one of the “50 Most Important Women in Science” in November 2002.
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