Lederman, Leon Max

Lederman, Leon Max lĕdˈərmən [key], 1922–2018, American physicist, Ph.D. Columbia, 1951. He was a professor at Columbia until he became director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill. (1979–89). He then taught at the Univ. of Chicago (1989–92) and the Illinois Institute of Technology (1992–2011). In the early 1960s, Lederman and co-researchers, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, developed the neutrino beam method for studying weak interactions and used it to make discoveries about elementary particle physics, including a new type of neutrino (a particle with no detectable electric charge or mass that moves at the speed of light). This led to the development of a new scheme for classifying families of subatomic particles. In 1988, Lederman, Schwartz, and Steinberger were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery. Lederman also led the team that discovered (1977) the bottom quark. Lederman was also a vocal advocate for science education and an author; among his books is The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? (with D. Teresi, 1993).

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