Community Education

Dr. Leon M. Lederman
leon lederman

Leon Lederman, internationally renowned specialist in high-energy physics, is director emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois and was the Eugene Higgins Professor at Columbia University. He has been associated with Columbia as a student and faculty member for more than thirty years; he was the Director of Nevis Laboratories, which was the Columbia Physics department center for experimental research in high-energy physics from 1961 until 1979. With colleagues and students from Nevis, he led an intensive and wide-ranging series of experiments, which provided major advances in particle physics. His publication list runs to well over 300 papers. Ledermen was the director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from 1979 until 1989. Since 1998, he holds the position of Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and since 1993, Pritzker Professor of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

He has served as President and Chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in the U.S. He is a member of the National Academy of Science; and has received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science(1965), the Elliot Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute (l976), the Wolf Prize in Physics (1982), the Nobel Prize in Physics (l988) and the Enrico Fermi Prize given by President Clinton in l993. Lederman served as a founding member of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel of the United States Department of Energy and the International Committee for Future Accelerators, as well as a Commissioner for the White House Fellows.

Lederman currently serves on over a dozen boards, including the Board of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, the Council of American Science Writers, and the University Research Association Board. Dr. Lederman has received honorary degrees and memberships in over 60 institutions including those in England, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, Israel, Finland, Russia, India and China.

Lederman has also worked tirelessly to improve science education. he was instrumental in founding the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a residential high school for the gifted and the Teachers Academy for Math and Science, which provides professional development for primary school teachers in Chicago. The "Hands-on" pedagogue has applied in France, Brazil, China and Malaysia, mainly through the agency of the Committee on Capacity Building in Science. Lederman chaired this Committee of ICSU from 1994-2000. The Lederman Science Center, a hands-on science museum, where visitors can explore the physics and technology of Fermilab, was also born as a result of his efforts. "Saturday Morning Physics" (a short-course for high school students) was initiated by Lederman in l980. He has been an outspoken advocate for new approaches to secondary science that emphasize a coherent three-year science curriculum beginning with physics. There are a growing number of schools introducing the new curricula inspired by his advocacy.

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