Sunday, May 31, 2015

Leon Lederman. Sold His Nobel Prize Medal

i find that it is sad that he had to resort to this.

Retired experimental physicist Leon Lederman is now 92 years old and facing serious health problems and memory loss. So he took to an online auction and sold his 1988 Nobel prize for his co-discovery of subatomic particle called the muon neutrino to cover his costs. The price of Nobel fame online? $765,002.

It had been only a few years ago that I mentioned about his efforts on the streets of Chicago to educate the public about physics. I wish more could have done to help him to not have him sell his medal.



Douglas Natelson said...

That really is sad. It's hard to know the circumstances involved, but you'd think with his level of career and professional accomplishment it would have been possible to have sufficient financial planning to avoid this necessity. On the other hand, growing old in the US can be exceedingly expensive.

Matt Miller said...

This is such a sad story. I had the very good fortune of meeting Dr. Lederman when he came to Michigan State in 1992 to deliver a physics colloquium. Afterwards, he spent an hour with the physics grad students in an open forum talking about physics, careers and autographing copies of his book 'The God Particle'. Several years later, I became personally interested in one of the institutions he founded - The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA). On a whim, I emailed him and asked some questions about what it would take to become a teacher at such a school. Much to my surprise, not only did he answer my questions but he also told me to send him a copy of my CV so he could circulate it! I was absolutely shocked that a Nobel Prize winning physicist could be so human and approachable.