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Leon M. Lederman

Leon M. Lederman
Physics Nobel Laureate; Director Emeritus, Fermilab;
Pritzker Professor of Science, Illinois Institute of Technology; Resident Scholar, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Plenary Lecture: What Presidents and Physicists Need to Know About Science


As we plunge deeper into the 21st century, we find that our nation and our planet confronting an extraordinary number of challenges. Ticking off a few, we have global climate change, the complexity of globalization entwined with technological advances, the growing affluence of populations, and the simultaneous persistence of grinding poverty, a world-wide food problem as energy competes with agriculture. All of these have science and technology aspects as well as social, economic and political sides. My plan is to stress two features in the life of physicists: (1) the wonder and joy of doing physics and (2) the societal obligations of physicists.

Biographical Sketch

Leon M. Lederman, internationally renowned high-energy physicist, is Director Emeritus of Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois and holds an appointment as Pritzker Professor of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He has served as President and Chairman of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 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 (1976), the Wolf Prize in Physics (1982), the Nobel Prize in Physics (1988), the Enrico Fermi Prize given by President Clinton in 1993, the Abelson Prize of the AAAS (2000), the AIP Compton Medal for leadership in physics (2005), and the University of Chicago William Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service (2008).

Lederman has also worked tirelessly to improve science education.  He is a founder and the inaugural Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, a 3-year residential public high school for the gifted. He recently served as co-chair of the NSB Commission on 21st Century Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).