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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 23 (2018) pp 242-243

Leon Lederman (1922–2018), Nobel Physics Laureate Who Coined the Controversial Term “The God Particle” to Describe the Higgs Boson – An Obituary-Tribute

George B. Kauffman*

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034,

Published: 6 November 2018

Abstract. Leon Lederman, the director of one of the world’s most prestigious physics laboratories who had irked his colleagues by coining the term “the god particle” to describe the Higgs boson, died of complications of dementia in a nursing home at Rexberg in northwest Idaho at the age of 96 on October 3, 2018. In 2012 Lederman was diagnosed with senile dementia. His physicians suggested more peaceful surroundings. Therefore he and his wife Ellen Carr Lederman moved to their log home in Teton Valley in eastern Idaho. In 2015 they auctioned off his gold 1988 Nobel physics medal for more than $765,000 to help cover their extra medical expenses. According to his wife of 37 years, his last years were ones of quiet contentment although he remembered less and less of his long, fulfilling life. She and her husband often worked while vacationing in Idaho, but also enjoyed skiing and horseback riding: “I had to learn to ski; he had to learn to ride, and he had to ride a lot more than I had to ski. It was a good deal. He was a good rider.”

Key Words: Chemistry and History; phyisical chemistry

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