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Directed by Toni Subklewe
What Would You Ask?
In “Street Corner Science,” a ScienCentral original web series, pedestrians are given the chance to sit down with a world-class scientist and ask him or her any question they like about science, or anything else on their minds. In this episode, Nobel-Prize-winning physicist Dr. Leon Lederman graciously answers a varied and astute array of questions from some lucky passersby. This video is the first of two “Street Corner Science” segments featuring Dr. Lederman, so be sure to check back with ScienCentral.com for more!
More About Our Host
Leon Max Lederman was born in New York City, the second son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He studied chemistry at City College of New York, receiving his BS in 1943. After three years in the army during World War II, he studied physics at Columbia University, earning his Master’s in 1948 and his Ph.D. in 1951. He stayed on at Columbia for nearly 30 years where he, with colleagues and students, led a wide-ranging series of experiments that have provided major advances in the understanding of “weak interactions,” one of the fundamental nuclear forces.
In the early 1960s, Dr. Lederman and his colleagues were focused on neutrinos, ghostlike particles that pass through everything in the universe. At the time, only the electron neutrino was known, and the scientists wondered if they could find more types of neutrinos. In 1962, Dr. Lederman, with his colleagues, succeeded in identifying the second such particle: the muon neutrino.
Lederman receives the Nobel Prize for Physics from King Carl XVI Gustaf, December 10, 1988.
In 1988, Dr. Lederman and his partners Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for “transforming the ghostly neutrino into an active tool of research.” Since the team’s work, neutrinos have been used as a way of analyzing everything from the structure of the atomic nucleus to the energy level of an exploding star, or supernova.
Today, Dr. Lederman is Pritzker Professor of Physics at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards besides the Nobel, including the National Medal of Science (1965), the Elliot Cresson Medal of the Franklin Institute (1976), and the Wolf Prize in Physics (1982). He is a past chairman and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1993 he was awarded the Enrico Fermi Prize by President Clinton. He has served as founding member of the High-Energy Physics Advisory Panel and the International Committee for Future Accelerators.
Dr. Lederman has published over 200 papers, and co-authored the books, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? (1989, written with Dick Teresi) and From Quarks to the Cosmos: Tools of Discovery (1995, co-author David N. Schramm). In these works, Lederman delves into the mysteries of matter, discussing particle accelerators and the yet-to-be-discovered “God particle.”
Dr. Lederman is a staunch advocate of the importance of math and science education and outreach programs for today’s youth.
Check out Dr. Lederman’s profile, his 1988 Nobel Lecture, and more at The Nobel Foundation’s website.
Dr. Lederman is Director Emeritus at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
Dr. Lederman also founded the Illinois Math and Science Academy, and is one of the main proponents of the Physics First movement, which aims to rearrange the current high school curriculum so that physics precedes biology and chemistry.Share Post: | Stumble | Share on Facebook | Tweet This |