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Nobel Prize winner to offer insights on educating scientists

Lederman won Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988

3/27/2003 4:12:55 PM


LYNCHBURG, Va. — Leon Lederman, internationally renowned specialist in high-energy physics and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988, will present a lecture titled Science Education in the 21st Century on Tuesday, April 8th at 8:00PM in the Houston Memorial Chapel on the campus of Randolph-Macon Woman's College. The address is free and open to the public.

Lederman is director emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and was the Eugene Higgins Professor at Columbia University, an institution with which he has been associated as a student and faculty member for more than thirty years. His publication list runs to over 300 papers. He was also the director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from 1979 until 1989. Since 1998, he has held the position of Resident Scholar at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and since 1993, Pritzker Professor of Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Lederman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences 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), and the Nobel Prize in Physics (1988). 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. Lederman has been awarded thirty-six honorary degrees including awards from institutions in England, Italy, Finland, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China and Argentina.

Lederman has also worked tirelessly to improve science education. "Our 19th century schools, huddled protectively around their 100 year old curricula, produce science illiterates who populate our law schools, legislatures, executive branches, and newspapers," he says. "This is a prescription for disaster."

He was instrumental in founding the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), a residential high school for the gifted, and the Teachers Academy for Math and Science (TAMS), which provides professional development for primary school teachers in Chicago. The "hands-on" pedagogue has been applied in France, Brazil, China and Malaysia, mainly through the agency of the Committee on Capacity Building in Science. Lederman chaired this Committee of ICSU from 1994-2000. The Lederman Science Center, a hands-on science museum, where visitors can explore the physics and technology of Fermilab, was also born as a result of his efforts. "Saturday Morning Physics" (a short-course for high school students) was initiated by Lederman in 1980. He has been an outspoken advocate for new approaches to secondary science that emphasize a coherent three-year science curriculum beginning with physics. There are a growing number of schools introducing the new curricula inspired by his advocacy.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations