SAN FRANCISCO—Scientists have long been prominent in the debate on arms control and international security. Yet until recently, they had few mid-career opportunities to learn the technical and political issues that shape that debate.

The 3-year-old science fellowship program at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Arms Control was created to meet that need. The program, which physicist/astronaut Sally K. Ride will join in October after she leaves NASA this month, is designed to “restock the talent pool of scientists who can be critics or who can be involved as consultants” in the complex issues of conflict and peace, said co-director Sidney D. Drell.

The career shift of Benoit Morel is typical of about half the center’s science fellows. A 38-year-old French/Swiss theoretician in elementary particle physics, he accepted the Stanford fellowship while considering his future. This fall, rather than returning to Europe to continue his theoretical research, he...

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