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Foster Statement on Death of Dr. Leon Lederman

Oct 4, 2018
Press Release

Aurora, IL – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) issued the following statement after it was announced that the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, former director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy founder, Dr. Leon Lederman, had passed away at the age of 96:

“Leon Lederman was a brilliant physicist whose love of scientific discovery was inspirational to so many and whose work transformed our understanding of the world around us,” Foster said. “Dr. Lederman didn’t just dedicate his time and energy to his own work, he was a tireless advocate for robust funding of scientific research including in our own backyard, at FermiLab, where he oversaw the construction of the Tevatron – the most powerful particle accelerator of its day. Dr. Lederman was also passionate about sharing his love of science with young people and was a leader for expanding science education opportunities. That legacy is forever preserved at the school he founded – the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy – where students come from across our state and around the world to pursue their interest in scientific thought and science-based careers. My thoughts are with Dr. Lederman’s family during this difficult time and I hope they can find comfort in knowing that Leon changed so many lives for the better through his dedication, wisdom, and the example he set.”

Dr. Lederman was a World War Two veteran and earned his PhD in physics from Columbia University. He served as director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL, from 1979-1989. In 1982 he proposed the creation of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, which opened to students in 1986 in Aurora, IL.

In 1988, Dr. Lederman was awarded the Nobel Prize For Physics for contributing to the discovery of the muon neutrino, one of the building blocks of matter.