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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Leon M. Lederman Quotes

Thumbnail of Leon M. Lederman (source)
Leon M. Lederman
(15 Jul 1922 - )

American physicist who shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the muon neutrino (a sub-atomic particle).


Science Quotes by Leon M. Lederman (13 quotes)


A theoretical physicist can spend his entire lifetime missing the intellectual challenge of experimental work, experiencing none of the thrills and dangers — the overhead crane with its ten-ton load, the flashing skull and crossbones and danger, radioactivity signs. A theorist’s only real hazard is stabbing himself with a pencil while attacking a bug that crawls out of his calculations.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Attack (29)  |  Bug (10)  |  Calculation (67)  |  Challenge (37)  |  Crawling (2)  |  Danger (62)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Hazard (11)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Lifetime (19)  |  Pencil (7)  |  Radioactivity (26)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Thrill (14)

Colleague reader, please read this to your uncertain teenager con brio! Tell him or her that (1) experiments often fail, and (2) they don't always fail.
[Co-author with Dick Teresi]
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon M. Lederman and ‎Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? (1993), 396.
Science quotes on:  |  Experiment (543)  |  Failure (118)  |  Reader (22)  |  Success (202)  |  Teenager (4)  |  Telling (23)

Leon M. Lederman quote: During an intense period of lab work, the outside world vanishes and the obsession is total
Background: Michael Faraday in his laboratory at the Royal Institution. (source)
During an intense period of lab work, the outside world vanishes and the obsession is total. Sleep is when you can curl up on the accelerator floor for an hour.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 14-15.
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerator (7)  |  Curl (3)  |  Experiment (543)  |  Floor (16)  |  Hour (42)  |  Intense (11)  |  Laboratory (120)  |  Obsession (8)  |  Sleep (42)  |  Total (29)  |  Vanishing (8)  |  World (667)

Experimenters don’t come in late—they never went home.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 14.
Science quotes on:  |  Experimenter (18)  |  Home (58)  |  Late (28)

I sometimes think about the tower at Pisa as the first particle accelerator, a (nearly) vertical linear accelerator that Galileo used in his studies.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993, 2006), 200.
Science quotes on:  |  Accelerator (7)  |  Galileo Galilei (101)  |  Particle Accelerator (2)  |  Research (517)  |  Sometimes (27)  |  Study (331)  |  Thinking (222)  |  Vertical (3)

My children have often asked me why I never received a Nobel Prize. I used to tell them it was because the Nobel committee couldn’t make up its mind which of my projects to recognize.
— Leon M. Lederman
As quoted by Malcolm W. Browne, in '3 American Physicists Get Nobel for Landmark Work', New York Times (20 Oct 1988), B12. (Lederman was a co-winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physics.)
Science quotes on:  |  Nobel Prize (26)

Neutrinos ... win the minimalist contest: zero charge, zero radius, and very possibly zero mass.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993, 2006), xiii.
Science quotes on:  |  Charge (29)  |  Contest (5)  |  Mass (61)  |  Neutrino (8)  |  Radius (4)  |  Zero (15)

Physics is not religion. If it were, we’d have a much easier time raising money.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 198.
Science quotes on:  |  Ease (29)  |  Money (125)  |  Physics (301)  |  Raising (4)  |  Religion (210)  |  Science And Religion (267)

Scientists don’t really ever grow up. I read, as a 10-or-so-year-old, a book for kids by Einstein. I think it was The Meaning of Relativity. It was exciting! Science was compared to a detective story, replete with clues, and the solution was the search for a coherent account of all the known events. Then I remember some very entrapping biographies: Crucibles, by Bernard Jaffe, was the story of chemistry told through the lives of great chemists; Microbe Hunters, by Paul de Kruif, did the same for biologists. Also, the novel Arrowsmith, by Sinclair Lewis, about a medical researcher. These books were a crucial component of getting hooked into science.
When asked by Discover magazine what books helped inspire his passion as a scientist.
— Leon M. Lederman
In 'The 1998 Discover Science Gift Guide: Fantastic Voyages Children's Books That Mattered', Discover (Dec 1998).
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (227)

The aether: Invented by Isaac Newton, reinvented by James Clerk Maxwell. This is the stuff that fills up the empty space of the universe. Discredited and discarded by Einstein, the aether is now making a Nixonian comeback. It’s really the vacuum, but burdened by theoretical, ghostly particles.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993, 2006), xiii.
Science quotes on:  |  Aether (8)  |  Burden (23)  |  Discarding (2)  |  Discredit (7)  |  Albert Einstein (535)  |  Emptiness (6)  |  Ghost (20)  |  Invention (283)  |  James (2)  |  Sir Isaac Newton (258)  |  Richard M. Nixon (10)  |  Particle (90)  |  Space (154)  |  Stuff (15)  |  Theory (582)  |  Universe (563)  |  Vacuum (29)

The sequence of theorist, experimenter, and discovery has occasionally been compared to the sequence of farmer, pig, truffle. The farmer leads the pig to an area where there might be truffles. The pig searches diligently for the truffles. Finally, he locates one, and just as he is about to devour it, the farmer snatches it away.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993, 2006), 16.
Science quotes on:  |  Comparison (53)  |  Devour (10)  |  Diligence (14)  |  Discovery (591)  |  Experimenter (18)  |  Farmer (23)  |  Pig (7)  |  Search (85)  |  Sequence (32)  |  Snatch (3)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Theorist (24)

Theorists tend to peak at an early age; the creative juices tend to gush very early and start drying up past the age of fifteen—or so it seems. They need to know just enough; when they’re young they haven’t accumulated the intellectual baggage.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 16.
Science quotes on:  |  Accumulate (18)  |  Age (137)  |  Creativity (66)  |  Drying (2)  |  Early (39)  |  Intellect (157)  |  Juice (7)  |  Knowledge (1128)  |  Peak (15)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Theorist (24)  |  Youth (57)

Theorists write all the popular books on science: Heinz Pagels, Frank Wilczek, Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman, et al. And why not? They have all that spare time.
— Leon M. Lederman
In Leon Lederman and Dick Teresi, The God Particle: If the Universe is the Answer, What is the Question (1993), 15.
Science quotes on:  |  Book (181)  |  Richard P. Feynman (107)  |  Stephen W. Hawking (45)  |  Heinz R. Pagels (10)  |  Popular (21)  |  Science (1699)  |  Spare (6)  |  Spare Time (3)  |  Theoretical Physicist (12)  |  Time (439)  |  Frank Wilczek (2)  |  Writing (72)

Leon M. Lederman quote: During an intense period of lab work, the outside world vanishes and the obsession is total
Background: Michael Faraday in his laboratory at the Royal Institution. (source)

See also:
  • 15 Jul - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Lederman's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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