from the world's big
Lederman helped promote the importance of particle physics to the general public and his research laid the groundwork for the Standard Model.
- Lederman won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering a second type of neutrino.
- He coined the nickname 'God particle' for the Higgs boson in his 1993 bestseller The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
- In 2015, Lederman and his family sold his Nobel Prize to pay for medical bills resulting from dementia.
Image: Fermilab<p>Although he was an atheist, Lederman didn't propose that physics could provide an all-encompassing explanation for our universe.</p><p>"There's always a place at the edge of our knowledge, where what's beyond is unimaginable, and that edge, of course, moves," Lederman told <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2009/may/29/why-call-it-the-god-particle-higgs-boson-cern-lhc" target="_blank">The New York Times</a></em> in 1998, adding that we might know the laws of physics but we don't know where they came from, leaving us "stuck."</p><p>"I usually say, 'Go across the street to the theology school, and ask those guys, because I don't know.'"</p><p>In 2015, Lederman's Nobel Prize gold medal was <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/physicist-leon-ledermans-nobel-prize-goes-auction-block-n365671" target="_blank">auctioned off for $765,002</a> to pay for his medical bills that resulted from dementia. </p><p>"I'm shocked it sold at all," Lederman's wife, Ellen, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/57434045" target="_blank">told The Associated Press</a>. "It's really hard. I wish it could be different. But he's happy. He likes where he lives with cats and dogs and horses. He doesn't have any problems with anxiety, and that makes me glad that he's so content."</p><p>Lederman once described the mindset in which he often found himself doing his best work. "The best discoveries always seem to be made in the small hours of the morning, when most people are asleep, where there are no disturbances and the mind becomes most contemplative," he told science writer <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/29/world/asia/malcolm-w-browne-pulitzer-winner-dies-at-81.html" target="_blank">Malcolm W. Browne</a> in <em>Discover </em>magazine in 1981.</p>
For once, beer is going to clarify your understanding. Theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss lays down the empirical evidence for the mechanics of the Big Bang.
It’s near impossible to comprehend the size of our universe without busting a mental cog or spraining your sense of awe. However, the origins of our universe has exactly the opposite problem: it was once mind-bogglingly small — tinier than a single particle. Physicist Lawrence Krauss explains the principle of inflation, and how within the first billionth of a second of the Big Bang, our universe increased in size by a factor of 10 to the 30th—for comparison, that’s the size of a single atom, to the size of a basketball. How did it do this? It involves a ‘frozen’ Higgs field, some cooling, and then an enormous explosion. Krauss uses an analogy we’ve all been at the mercy of: putting a beer in the freezer and forgetting it for a few too many hours. Lawrence Krauss' most recent book is The Greatest Story Ever Told -- So Far: Why Are We Here?.