Biography:Leon M. Lederman

Short description: American mathematician and physicist (1922–2018)
Leon M. Lederman
Lederman in 1988
Born
Leon Max Lederman

July 15, 1922
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 3, 2018 (aged 96)
Rexburg, Idaho, U.S.
Education
Known forSeminal contributions to neutrinos, bottom quark
Spouse(s)Florence Gordon (divorced)
Ellen Carr[1]
AwardsNobel 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)
Scientific career
FieldsPhysics
InstitutionsColumbia University
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Illinois Institute of Technology

Leon Max Lederman (July 15, 1922 – October 3, 2018) was an American experimental physicist who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988, along with Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, for research on neutrinos. He also received the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1982, along with Martin Lewis Perl, for research on quarks and leptons. 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, where he was Resident Scholar Emeritus from 2012 until his death in 2018.[3][4]

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

Early life

Lederman was born in New York City, New York, to Morris and Minna (Rosenberg) Lederman.[5] His parents were Ukrainian-Jewish immigrants from Kyiv and Odessa.[6] Lederman graduated from James Monroe High School in the South Bronx,[7] and received his bachelor's degree from the City College of New York in 1943.[8]

Lederman enlisted in the United States Army[8] during World War II, intending to become a physicist after his service.[9]:17 Following his discharge in 1946, he enrolled at Columbia University's graduate school, receiving his Ph.D. in 1951.[10]

Lederman became a faculty member at Columbia University, and he was promoted to full professor in 1958 as Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics.[9]:796 In 1960, on leave from Columbia, he spent time at CERN in Geneva as a Ford Foundation Fellow.[11] He took an extended leave of absence from Columbia in 1979 to become director of Fermilab.[12] Resigning from Columbia (and retiring from Fermilab) in 1989, he then taught briefly at the University of Chicago.[13] He then moved to the physics department of the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he served as the Pritzker Professor of Science.[13] In 1992, Lederman served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.[14][15]

Lederman, rare for a Nobel Prize winning professor, took it upon himself to teach physics to non-physics majors at The University of Chicago.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18] Lederman was also one of the main proponents of the "Physics First" movement.[19] 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.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] Lederman was also a member of the USA Science and Engineering Festival's advisory board.[22]

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.[23] 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.[24] These helped establish his reputation as among the top particle physicists.[24]

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.[24] 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.[25]

Honors and awards

• Election to the National Academy of Sciences, 1965.[41]
• National Medal of Science, 1965.[41]
• Election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1970.[42]
• Elliott Cresson Prize of the Franklin Institute, 1976.[43]
• Wolf Prize in Physics, 1982.[41]
• Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement, 1982.[44]
• Nobel Prize in Physics, 1988.[41]
• Election to the American Philosophical Society, 1989.[42]
• Enrico Fermi Prize of the United States Department of Energy, 1992.[41]
• Appointment as a Tetelman Fellow at Jonathan Edwards College, 1994.[42]
• Doctor of Humane Letters, DePaul University, 1995.[42]
• Ordem Nacional do Merito Cientifico (Brazil ), 1995.[42]
• In Praise of Reason from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP), 1996.[45]
• Medallion, Division of Particles and Fields, Mexican Physical Society, 1999.[42]
• AAAS Philip Hauge Abelson Prize, 2000
• Vannevar Bush Prize, 2012.[46]
• Asteroid 85185 Lederman, discovered by Eric Walter Elst at La Silla Observatory in 1991, was named in his honor.[47] The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 27 January 2013 (M.P.C. 82401).[48]

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)[49]
• 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)[50]
• "What We'll Find Inside the Atom" by Leon Lederman, an essay he wrote for Newsweek, 15 September 2008[51]
• Quantum Physics for Poets by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill (ISBN:978-1616142339)[52]
• Beyond the God Particle by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill(ISBN:978-1616148010)[53][54][55][56]

• List of Jewish Nobel laureates

References and notes

1. Charles W. Carey (14 May 2014). American Scientists. Infobase Publishing. pp. 223. ISBN 978-1-4381-0807-0.
2. Lederman, Leon M. (1988). Frängsmyr, Tore; Ekspång, Gösta. eds. "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1988: Leon M. Lederman, Melvin Schwartz, Jack Steinberger". Nobel Lectures, Physics 1981–1990. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
3. 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.
4. "Leon Lederman Ph.D. Biography and Interview". American Academy of Achievement.
5. Lederman, Leon; Teresi, Dick (1993). The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question. Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618711680.
6. "A Short History of Columbia Physics". Columbia University in the City of New York. 2016.
7. 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 en). Il Nuovo Cimento 17 (3): 288–303. doi:10.1007/BF02860257. Bibcode1960NCim...17..288C.
8. "Biography: Leon M. Lederman". The Bulletin.org.
9. Horgan, John (April 16, 2006). "Rent-a-Genius". The New York Times.
10. Popkin, Gabriel (July 2009). ""Physics First" Battles for Acceptance". APS News 18 (7). Retrieved 3 October 2016.
11. "Leon Lederman Interview". The Science Network.
12. 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". Physical Review 105 (4): 1415–1417. doi:10.1103/PhysRev.105.1415. Bibcode1957PhRv..105.1415G.
13. Johnson, George (2018-10-03). "Leon Lederman, 96, Explorer (and Explainer) of the Subatomic World, Dies". The New York Times.
14. J. Yoh (1998). "The Discovery of the b Quark at Fermilab in 1977: The Experiment Coordinator's Story". AIP Conference Proceedings 424: 29–42. doi:10.1063/1.55114. Bibcode1998AIPC..424...29Y.
15. 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.". Los Angeles Times. "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"
16. Lillian Hoddeson; Adrienne Kolb (2011). "Vision to reality: From Robert R. Wilson's frontier to Leon M. Lederman's Fermilab". Physics in Perspective 5 (1): 67–86. doi:10.1007/s000160300003. Bibcode2003PhP.....5...67H. "Lederman also planned what he saw as Fermilab's next machine, the Superconducting SuperCollider (SSC)".
17. Abbott, Charles (20 June 1987). "Super competition for superconducting super collider". Illinois Issues: p. 18. "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."
18. Kevles, Dan. "Good-bye to the SSC". California Institute of Technology "Engineering & Science" 58 no. 2 (Winter 1995): 16–25. 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 []".
19. Calder, Nigel (2005). Magic Universe:A Grand Tour of Modern Science. pp. 369–370. ISBN 9780191622359. "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"
20. Abe, F et al. (3 April 1995). "Observation of Top Quark Production in [anti-p] and [ p] Collisions with the Collider Detector at Fermilab". Physical Review Letters 74 (2626): 2626–2631. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.74.2626. PMID 10057978. Bibcode1995PhRvL..74.2626A.
21. Hevesi, Dennis (1 April 2009). "Martin J. Klein, Historian of Physics, Dies at 84". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
22. 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"
23. Gogineni, Babu (July 10, 2012). "It's the Atheist Particle, actually". Postnoon News. "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!"
24. "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
25. Flynn, Tom (September 1996). "World Skeptics Congress Draws Over 1200 Participants". CSICOP.
26.
27. Frampton, Paul H. (1990). "Review of From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery by Leon M. Lederman and David N. Schramm". Physics Today 43 (5): 82. doi:10.1063/1.2810566. Bibcode1990PhT....43e..82L.
28. Mottola, Emil (2005). "Review of Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, 2004. \$29.00 (363 pp.). ISBN 1-59102-242-8". Physics Today 58 (11): 53–54. doi:10.1063/1.2155761.
29. Lederman, Leon M.; Hill, Christopher T. (October 2013). Beyond the God Particle. Prometheus Books. ISBN 9781616148010. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
30. Peskin, Michael E. (2014). "Review of 2 books: Beyond the God Particle by Leon M. Lederman and Christopher T. Hill and Cracking the Particle Code of the Universe by John W. Moffat". Physics Today 67 (7): 49–50. doi:10.1063/PT.3.2450.