Persis S. Drell

Director Emerita

Persis S. Drell was SLAC's director from 2007 through October 2012. She received her bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from Wellesley College in 1977 and a PhD in atomic physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1983. Then, switching to high-energy experimental physics, she worked as a postdoctoral scientist with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Drell joined the faculty of the Physics Department at Cornell University in 1988, where she became head of the high-energy group in 2000 and deputy director of Cornell's Laboratory of Nuclear Studies in 2001. She came to SLAC in 2002 as a professor and director of research, and was named laboratory director five years later.

In September 2014, Drell became the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering. She is also the James and Anna Marie Spilker Professor in the School of Engineering and a professor of materials science and engineering and physics at Stanford. Her current research focuses on technology development for free-electron lasers and particle astrophysics.

Drell has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award; and a Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society; a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She served on the COSEPUP/BPA for the 2004 publication Setting Priorities for NSF-Sponsored Large Research Facilities for the National Academy of Sciences, and chaired the HEPAP subcommittee that produced the Quantum Universe report in 2004.