UCSD Science & EngineeringUCSD Science & Engineering
November 9, 2000

Media Contact: Kim McDonald (858) 534-7572, or Ronald Bee, Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (858) 534-6429, 




President Clinton today named Herbert F. York, a nuclear physicist and the founding chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, a recipient of this year's Enrico Fermi Award for his efforts and contributions in nuclear deterrence and arms control agreements.

York, who is emeritus director of the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, which he founded in 1983, will receive the award on December 18 with two other scientists: Sidney Drell, a physicist at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, and Sheldon Datz, a physicist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"These scientists have made important scientific contributions in the fields of chemistry and physics," said President Clinton. "Their pioneering work in the very complex area of arms control has benefited our nation and the world."

"Herb is the perfect choice for this award," said Robert C. Dynes, chancellor of UCSD. "He has devoted most of his life to assuring the responsible stewardship of nuclear weapons in the United States and has been the voice of reason for the last half century in the management of this country's nuclear weapons arsenal."

"Herb York recognized that building peace was more than controlling arms," said Peter F. Cowhey, director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and a professor of international relations at UCSD. "His capstone experience at the University of California was his pioneering leadership of the university's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. The Institute's work brings together work on arms control, conflict resolution, economic cooperation and environmental stewardship in an effort to build an intellectual foundation for the 'long peace' that Herb wished for the world."

York was the first director of the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, science advisor to President Eisenhower, and co-founder and first chief scientist of the Advanced Research Projects Agency. He was ambassador and chief negotiator for the Comprehensive Test Ban Negotiations under President Carter and has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce international tensions through deterrence and negotiated arms control agreements.

In its citation, the White House honored York "for his participation in the formulation, conduct, promotion and explication of arms control policy; for his participation in the Manhattan Project; and for his founding direction of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and his leadership in research and engineering at the Department of Defense. His publications have set forth with clarity and simplicity an understanding of the issues involved in all these actions. He has dedicated decades of his life to the informed advocacy of sensible choices in nuclear weapon systems and to the reduction of the nuclear threat."

The White House added that York's influence has extended "beyond the halls of government. His work as an educator and author introduced several generations of Americans to the best thinking on the history, science, and politics of nuclear weapons development and arms control. His writings are among his most enduring contributions to society's understanding of peace and security issues."

York is the author of six books: Arms Control (Readings from Scientific American, W.H. Freeman, 1973); The Advisors: Oppenheimer, Teller and the Superbomb (W. H. Freeman, 1976); Race to Oblivion: A Participant's View of the Arms Race (Simon and Schuster, 1978); Making Weapons, Talking Peace: A Physicist's Journey from Hiroshima to Geneva (Harper & Row, 1987); A Shield in Space? Technology, Politics and the Strategic Defense Initiative (U. of Calif. Press, 1988, with Sanford Lakoff); and Arms and the Physicist, (American Physical Society, 1994).

The Enrico Fermi Award, which was established in 1956, is the government's oldest science and technology award. It honors the memory of Enrico Fermi, the 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 award's first recipients were physicists John von Neumann, Ernest O. Lawrence, Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and Robert Oppenheimer.

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson will present the awards to the three winners at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on December 18. Each scientist will receive a gold medal and a $66,000 honorarium.