July 17, 2008
Vol. 27 No. 19

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    Leon Lederman honored with Benton Medal

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Photo by Dan Dry

    University Marshal Lorna Straus, Professor Emeritus in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, places the Benton Medal on Nobel laureate Leon Lederman, who was honored for his contributions to primary education in science and mathematics as well as public advocacy of scientific research.

    The University awarded the Benton Medal for Distinguished Public Service to Nobel laureate Leon Lederman on Saturday, June 14 at the University’s 494th Convocation.

    The nominating statement lauded Lederman “because he has used his powerful positions and innumerable honors to aid the causes of public service, particularly in innovative approaches to financing and teaching primary education in science and mathematics.” The statement also cited Lederman “for his public advocacy of scientific research, including vigorous support for collaboration with developing countries, especially in Latin America.”

    Lederman shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in physics for the 1962 discovery of two kinds of neutrino, a type of subatomic particle. His many other honors include the National Medal of Science and honorary doctorates from scores of institutions around the globe.

    He directed Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from 1979 to 1989 and has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the Frank L. Sulzberger Professor Emeritus in Physics and the College and president of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Currently, he is the Pritzker professor of science at the Illinois Institute of Technology and resident scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

    Lederman is a founder of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and the Teachers Academy for Mathematics and Science, designed to retrain 20,000 teachers in the Chicago Public Schools in the art of teaching science and mathematics.

    He is the author or co-author of more than 300 scientific publications and three books: From Quarks to the Cosmos, Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe and The God Particle.

    Lederman is the 10th recipient of the Benton Medal, which was created and first awarded to Sen. William H. Benton in 1967. The University awards the medal to individuals who have rendered distinguished public service in education.

    Nominations for the medal are submitted and reviewed by members of the faculty, and approved by vote of the Faculty Council of the Senate.