Franklin Laureate Database
Professor of Physics, University of Chicago
Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Citation: Leadership in forefront of experimentation in study of high energy interactions, nuclear forces and particle physics.
Leon Lederman was born in New York City, New York in 1922.
For more than thirty years, Dr. Lederman has been associated with Columbia University, having been a student (obtaining his Ph.D. in 1951) and a faculty member there. Dr. Lederman was the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics at Columbia from 1972-79 and served as Director of Nevis Laboratories in Irvington, Columbia's center for experimental research in high-energy physics, from 1962-79. With colleagues and students from Nevis, he led an extensive and wide-ranging series of experiments that provided major advances in the understanding of particles and interactions, thus contributing significantly to what is known as the "standard model."
Major experiments included the observation of parity violation in decay of pi and mu mesons, the discovery of the long-lived neutral kaon, the discovery of two kinds of neutrinos and the discovery of the upsilon particle, the first evidence for the bottom quark.
In 1990, he was elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest scientific organization in the U.S.