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Leon M. Lederman
Lederman in 1988
Born Leon Max Lederman
(1922-07-15)July 15, 1922
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died October 3, 2018(2018-10-03) (aged 96)
Rexburg, Idaho, U.S.
Nationality United States
Education City College of New York (B.A.)
Columbia University (Ph.D.)
Known for Seminal contributions to neutrinos, bottom quark
Spouse(s) Florence Gordon (divorced)
Ellen Carr (until his death)[1]
Awards Nobel Prize in Physics (1988)
Wolf Prize in Physics (1982)
National Medal of Science (1965)
Vannevar Bush Award (2012)
William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (1991)

Leon Max Lederman (July 15, 1922 – October 3, 2018) was an American experimental physicist who received the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1982, along with Martin Lewis Perl, for their research on quarks and leptons, and the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988, along with Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, for their research on neutrinos. Lederman was Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. He founded the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, in Aurora, Illinois in 1986, and was Resident Scholar Emeritus there from 2012 until his death in 2018.[2][3]

An accomplished scientific writer, he became known for his 1993 book The God Particle establishing the importance of the Higgs boson.

Early life[]

Lederman was born in New York City, New York, to Morris and Minna (Rosenberg) Lederman.[4] His parents were Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants from Kiev and Odessa.[5] Lederman graduated from James Monroe High School in the South Bronx,[6] and received his bachelor's degree from the City College of New York in 1943.[7]

He next enlisted in the United States Army[7] during World War II, intending to become a physicist after his service.[8]:17 Following his discharge in 1946, he enrolled at Columbia University's graduate school, receiving his Ph.D. in 1951.[9]

Academic career[]

Lederman became a faculty member at Columbia University, and he was promoted to full professor in 1958 as Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics.[8]:796 In 1960, on leave from Columbia, he spent time at CERN in Geneva as a Ford Foundation Fellow.[10] He took an extended leave of absence from Columbia in 1979 to become director of Fermilab.[11] Resigning from Columbia (and retiring from Fermilab) in 1989, he then taught briefly at the University of Chicago.[12] He then moved to the physics department of the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he served as the Pritzker Professor of Science.[12] In 1992, Lederman served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[13][14]

Lederman served as President of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and at the time of his death was Chair Emeritus.[15] He also served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1989 to 1992, and was a member of the JASON defense advisory group.[16] Lederman was also one of the main proponents of the "Physics First" movement.[17] Also known as "Right-side Up Science" and "Biology Last," this movement seeks to rearrange the current high school science curriculum so that physics precedes chemistry and biology.[17]

Lederman was an early supporter of Science Debate 2008, an initiative to get the then-candidates for president, Barack Obama and John McCain, to debate the nation's top science policy challenges.[18] In October 2010, Lederman participated in the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Lunch with a Laureate program where middle and high school students engaged in an informal conversation with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist over a brown-bag lunch.[19] Lederman was also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's Advisory Board.[20]

Academic work[]

In 1956, Lederman worked on parity violation in weak interactions. R. L. Garwin, Leon Lederman, and R. Weinrich modified an existing cyclotron experiment, and they immediately verified the parity violation.[21] They delayed publication of their results until after Wu's group was ready, and the two papers appeared back to back in the same physics journal. Among his achievements are the discovery of the muon neutrino in 1962 and the bottom quark in 1977.[22] These helped establish his reputation as among the top particle physicists.[22]

In 1977, a group of physicists, the E288 experiment team, led by Lederman announced that a particle with a mass of about 6.0 GeV was being produced by the Fermilab particle accelerator.[22] After taking further data, the group discovered that this particle did not actually exist, and the "discovery" was named "Oops-Leon" as a pun on the original name and Lederman's first name.[23]

As the director of Fermilab, Lederman was a prominent supporter[24][25] of the Superconducting Super Collider project, which was endorsed around 1983, and was a major proponent and advocate throughout its lifetime.[26][27] Lederman later wrote his 1993 popular science book The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? – which sought to promote awareness of the significance of such a project – in the context of the project's last years and the changing political climate of the 1990s.[28] The increasingly moribund project was finally shelved that same year after some $2 billion of expenditures.[24] In The God Particle he wrote, "The history of atomism is one of reductionism – the effort to reduce all the operations of nature to a small number of laws governing a small number of primordial objects" while stressing the importance of the Higgs boson.[8]:87[29]

In 1988, Lederman received the Nobel Prize for Physics along with Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger "for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino".[2] Lederman also received the National Medal of Science (1965), the Elliott Cresson Medal for Physics (1976), the Wolf Prize for Physics (1982) and the Enrico Fermi Award (1992).[22] In 1995, he received the Chicago History Museum "Making History Award" for Distinction in Science Medicine and Technology.[30]

Personal life[]

Lederman in May 2007

Lederman's best friend during his college years, Martin J. Klein, convinced him of "the splendors of physics during a long evening over many beers".[31] He was known for his sense of humor in the physics community.[8]:17 On August 26, 2008 Lederman was video-recorded by a science focused organization called ScienCentral, on the street in a major U.S. city, answering questions from passersby.[32] He answered questions such as "What is the strong force?" and "What happened before the Big Bang?".[32]

Despite his Jewish background, Lederman was an atheist.[33][34] He had three children with his first wife, Florence Gordon, and toward the end of his life lived with his second wife, Ellen (Carr), in Driggs, Idaho.[6][35]

Lederman began to suffer from memory loss in 2011 and, after struggling with medical bills, he had to sell his Nobel medal for $765,000 to cover the costs in 2015.[36] He died of complications from dementia on October 3, 2018, at a care facility in Rexburg, Idaho at the age of 96.[22][37]

Honors and awards[]

  • Election to the National Academy of Sciences, 1965.[38]
  • National Medal of Science, 1965.[38]
  • Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1970.[39]
  • Elliott Cresson Prize of the Franklin Institute, 1976.[40]
  • Wolf Prize in Physics, 1982.[38]
  • Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988.[38]
  • Election to the American Philosophical Society, 1989.[39]
  • Enrico Fermi Prize of the United States Department of Energy, 1992.[38]
  • Appointment as a Tetelman Fellow at Jonathan Edwards College, 1994.[39]
  • Doctor of Humane Letters, DePaul University, 1995.[39]
  • Ordem Nacional do Merito Cientifico (Brazil), 1995.[39]
  • In Praise of Reason from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP), 1996.[41]
  • Medallion, Division of Particles and Fields, Mexican Physical Society, 1999.[39]
  • Vannevar Bush Prize, 2012.[42]

Publications[]

  • The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? by Leon M. Lederman, Dick Teresi (ISBN 0-385-31211-3)
  • From Quarks to the Cosmos by Leon Lederman and David N. Schramm (ISBN 0-7167-6012-6)
  • Portraits of Great American Scientists by Leon M. Lederman, et al. (ISBN 1-57392-932-8)
  • Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill (ISBN 1-59102-242-8)
  • "What We'll Find Inside the Atom" by Leon Lederman, an essay he wrote for Newsweek, 15 September 2008[43]
  • Quantum Physics for Poets by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill (ISBN 978-1616142339)
  • Beyond the God Particle by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill(ISBN 978-1616148010)[44]

References[]

  1. Charles W. Carey (14 May 2014). American Scientists. Infobase Publishing. pp. 223. ISBN 978-1-4381-0807-0. https://books.google.com/books?id=00r9waSNv1cC&pg=PR2. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lederman, Leon M. (1988). "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988: Leon M. Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger". In Frängsmyr, Tore; Ekspång, Gösta. https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1988/lederman-facts.html. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  3. "Fermilab History and Archives Project–Golden Books – An Eclectic Reader on Leon M. Lederman". Fermilab. 2012. https://history.fnal.gov/GoldenBooks/gb_lmlsec.html. 
  4. Lillian Hoddeson; Adrienne W. Kolb; Catherine Westfall (1 August 2009). Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience. University of Chicago Press. pp. 229. ISBN 978-0-226-34625-0. https://books.google.com/books?id=UXUbesKLjBoC&pg=PA229. 
  5. "Research Profile - Leon Max Lederman". https://www.mediatheque.lindau-nobel.org/research-profile/laureate-lederman. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lederman, Leon (1991). "Leon M. Lederman – Biographical". https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1988/lederman-bio.html. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Leon Lederman Biography – Academy of Achievement". 11 June 2011. http://www.achievement.org/achiever/leon-lederman-ph-d/. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Lederman, Leon; Teresi, Dick (1993). The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618711680. 
  9. "A Short History of Columbia Physics". Columbia University in the City of New York. 2016. http://physics.columbia.edu/about-us/short-history-columbia-physics. 
  10. Charpak, G.; Lederman, L.M.; Sens, J.C.; Zichichi, A. (1960-08-01). "A method for trapping muons in magnetic fields, and its application to a redetermination of the EDM of the muon" (in English). pp. 288–303. Bibcode 1960NCim...17..288C. Digital object identifier:10.1007/BF02860257. 
  11. "Fermilab History and Archives - Leon M. Lederman". FNAL.gov. https://history.fnal.gov/autobiography.html. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Leon Lederman, Nobel-winning physicist and 'visionary' educator, 1922-2018". University of Chicago. October 3, 2018. https://news.uchicago.edu/story/leon-lederman-nobel-winning-physicist-and-former-fermilab-director-1922-2018. 
  13. "Leon M. Lederman". AIP.org. https://history.aip.org/phn/11605003.html. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  14. "AAAS Presidents". https://www.aaas.org/leadership/presidents. 
  15. "Biography: Leon M. Lederman". The Bulletin.org. https://thebulletin.org/about-us/board-of-sponsors-2/. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  16. Horgan, John (April 16, 2006). "Rent-a-Genius". https://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/books/review/16horgan.html. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Popkin, Gabriel (July 2009). ""Physics First" Battles for Acceptance". https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200907/physicsfirst.cfm. 
  18. "Leon Lederman Interview". The Science Network. http://thesciencenetwork.org/media/videos/2/Transcript.pdf. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  19. "Lunch with a Laureate". http://www.usasciencefestival.org/2010festival/schoolprograms/lunchwithalaureate. 
  20. "USA Science & Engineering Festival–Advisors". 2016. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20161002042604/https://www.usasciencefestival.org/about/advisors. 
  21. Garwin, R. L.; Lederman, L. M.; Weinrich, M. (1957). "Observations of the Failure of Conservation of Parity and Charge Conjugation in Meson Decays: The Magnetic Moment of the Free Muon". pp. 1415–1417. Bibcode 1957PhRv..105.1415G. Digital object identifier:10.1103/PhysRev.105.1415. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Johnson, George (2018-10-03). "Leon Lederman, 96, Explorer (and Explainer) of the Subatomic World, Dies". https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/science/leon-lederman-died-particle-accelerators.html. 
  23. J. Yoh (1998). "The Discovery of the b Quark at Fermilab in 1977: The Experiment Coordinator's Story". pp. 29–42. Digital object identifier:10.1063/1.55114. http://lss.fnal.gov/archive/1997/conf/Conf-97-432-E.pdf. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 ASCHENBACH, JOY (1993-12-05). "No Resurrection in Sight for Moribund Super Collider : Science: Global financial partnerships could be the only way to salvage such a project. But some feel that Congress delivered a fatal blow.". http://articles.latimes.com/1993-12-05/news/mn-64100_1_superconducting-super-collider. Retrieved 16 January 2013. "Disappointed American physicists are anxiously searching for a way to salvage some science from the ill-fated superconducting super collider ... "We have to keep the momentum and optimism and start thinking about international collaboration," said Leon M. Lederman, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was the architect of the super collider plan" 
  25. "Vision to reality: From Robert R. Wilson's frontier to Leon M. Lederman's Fermilab". 2011. pp. 67–86. arXiv:1110.0486. Bibcode 2003PhP.....5...67H. Digital object identifier:10.1007/s000160300003. "Lederman also planned what he saw as Fermilab's next machine, the Superconducting SuperCollider (SSC)" 
  26. Abbott, Charles (20 June 1987). "Super competition for superconducting super collider". Illinois Issues. p. 18. http://www.lib.niu.edu/1987/ii8706tc.html. "Lederman, who considers himself an unofficial propagandist for the super collider, said the SSC could reverse the physics brain drain in which bright young physicists have left America to work in Europe and elsewhere." 
  27. Kevles, Dan. "Good-bye to the SSC". pp. 16–25. http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/568/1/ES58.2.1995.pdf. Retrieved 16 January 2013. "Lederman, one of the principal spokesmen for the SSC, was an accomplished high-energy experimentalist who had made Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the development of the Standard Model during the 1960s (although the prize itself did not come until 1988). He was a fixture at congressional hearings on the collider, an unbridled advocate of its merits []" 
  28. Calder, Nigel (2005). Magic Universe:A Grand Tour of Modern Science. pp. 369–370. ISBN 9780191622359. https://books.google.com/?id=E4NfZ9FDcc8C&pg=PA370&lpg=PA370#v=onepage&q=title%20of%20a%20book&f=false. "The possibility that the next big machine would create the Higgs became a carrot to dangle in front of funding agencies and politicians. A prominent American physicist, Leon lederman, advertised the Higgs as The God Particle in the title of a book published in 1993 ...Lederman was involved in a campaign to persuade the US government to continue funding the Superconducting Super Collider... the ink was not dry on Lederman's book before the US Congress decided to write off the billions of dollars already spent" 
  29. Abe, F; Akimoto, H; Akopian, A (3 April 1995). "Observation of Top Quark Production in [anti-p] and [ p] Collisions with the Collider Detector at Fermilab". pp. 2626–2631. arXiv:hep-ex/9503002. Bibcode 1995PhRvL..74.2626A. Digital object identifier:10.1103/PhysRevLett.74.2626. PMID 10057978. 
  30. "Making History Awards, 1995–2015 Honorees". 2015. Archived from the original on 24 June 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20160624012521/http://www.chicagohistory.org/aboutus/from-the-president/MHA_Recipient_List_19952015.pdf. 
  31. Hevesi, Dennis (1 April 2009). "Martin J. Klein, Historian of Physics, Dies at 84". ISSN 0362-4331. https://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/nyregion/02klein.html. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 Carroll, Sean (26 August 2008). "Street Corner Science with Leon Lederman". http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2008/08/26/street-corner-science-with-leon-lederman. 
  33. Dan Falk (2005). "What About God?". Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest for the Theory of Everything. Arcade Publishing. p. 195. ISBN 9781559707336. ""Physics isn't a religion. If it were, we'd have a much easier time raising money." - Leon Lederman" 
  34. Gogineni, Babu (July 10, 2012). "It's the Atheist Particle, actually". Postnoon News. http://rationalisthumans.blogspot.com/2012/07/its-atheist-particle-actually.html. "Leon Lederman is himself an atheist and he regrets the term, and Peter Higgs who is an atheist too, has expressed his displeasure, but the damage has been done!" 
  35. "Leon Lederman in Driggs, ID". 2 October 2016. https://411.info/people/Leon-Lederman-Driggs-ID-132837548. 
  36. Kliff, Sarah (2018-10-04). "A Nobel Prize-winning physicist sold his medal for $765,000 to pay medical bills". https://www.vox.com/health-care/2018/10/4/17936626/leon-lederman-nobel-prize-medical-bills. 
  37. "IMSA Announces Passing of Founder, Dr. Leon Lederman". 2018-10-03. https://www.imsa.edu/imsa-announces-passing-of-founder-dr-leon-lederman/. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 38.3 38.4 "Leon M. Lederman Career, Discoveries and Awards". Fermilab.gov. https://history.fnal.gov/career_awards.html. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 "Leon M. Lederman Honorary Degrees and Awards". Fermlab.gov. https://history.fnal.gov/honorary.html. Retrieved October 3, 2018. 
  40. "Franklin Laureate database". 2012. http://www.fi.edu/winners/1976/lederman_leon.faw?winner_id=3329. 
  41. Flynn, Tom (September 1996). "World Skeptics Congress Draws Over 1200 Participants". CSICOP. http://www.csicop.org/sb/show/world_skeptics_congress_draws_over_1200_participants. Retrieved 19 August 2016. 
  42. "Fermilab History and Archives–Leon M. Lederman Honorary Degrees and Awards". Fermilab. 2012. https://history.fnal.gov/honorary.html. 
  43. "Large Hadron Collider May Explain Atom's Mysteries". 2008-09-05. http://www.newsweek.com/large-hadron-collider-may-explain-atoms-mysteries-88965. 
  44. Lederman, Leon M.; Hill, Christopher T. (October 2013). Beyond the God Particle. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616148010. https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/228983/beyond-the-god-particle-by-leon-m-lederman-and-christopher-t-hill/9781616148010/. Retrieved 2019-02-26. 

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