Leon Lederman and his impact on science education

  • April 10, 2019, 4:00 pm
  • Christine Middleton, Physics Today
  • Chris Stoughton

Leon Lederman is well-known as the former director of Fermilab and for his Nobel Prize winning work in high-energy physics. However, he also had a passion for science education. Leon recognized that American students were not graduating high school with a working knowledge of scientific ideas, and he took active steps toward improving the state of science education that are still impacting students today. He was a vocal advocate for the Physics First model of science education, which is increasingly being used in schools across the country. The three-year residential school he founded for gifted students, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), is still one of the top-ranking high schools in the country. Leon’s training program for teachers, the Teachers Academy for Math and Science (TAMS), serves as a model for science education reform today. These and other programs with which he was involved make up a robust legacy that continues to contribute to the educational community.