LEDERMAN, LEON MAX (1922– ), U.S. Nobel laureate in physics. Lederman was born in New York City, where he earned his B.S. at the College of the City of New York (1943), and his M.A. (1948) and Ph.D. (1951) in physics from Columbia University, an education interrupted by service in the U.S. Army (1943–46). He was a faculty member of the physics department of Columbia University (1946–79) and professor from 1958, during which period he was director of the department's NEVIS Laboratories at Irvington-on-Hudson (1961–78) and collaborated with the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). He was director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois (1979–89) and professor of physics at the University of Chicago from 1989. He joined the Illinois Institute of Technology as Pritzker Professor of Science (1994). His research concerned the nature of the subatomic world and in particular the identification of subatomic particles, most frequently by measurements or observations using particle accelerators. His major experiments involved the discovery of a long-lived neutral "K" particle, the failure of mirror symmetry in the properties of pions and muons, and a second type of neutrino. Lederman and his colleagues at Columbia University, Melvin Schwartz and Jack Steinberger, were awarded the Nobel Prize (1988) for the demonstration of the doublet structure of leptons and the discovery of the muon neutrino. His many honors include membership of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. National Medal for Science (1965), and the Wolf Prize in Physics (1983). He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Weizmann Institute and collaborated closely with Professor Haim Harari of this institute. He had a great interest in scientific education, as is evident from his many contributions to local, national, and international institutes and commissions. He is coauthor of many successful books for general readers including Quarks to the Cosmos (with David Schramm, 1989), The God Particle (with Dick Teresi, 1993), and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe (with Christopher Hill, 2004).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.