Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 25  |  Friday, February 15, 2002  |  Number 3
In This Issue  |  FermiNews Main Page

IIT: From a Million-Dollar Wish to Invaluable Reality

Fermilab's first three directors at the ribbon-cutting for the Lederman Science Education Center (from left): John Peoples, Leon Lederman, Robert Rathbun Wilson. Ask Nickolas Solomey what drew him to the Illinois Institute of Technology, and he answers succinctly: “Leon Lederman.”

Ask Lederman, Nobel Prize winner and Fermilab Director emeritus, what drew him to IIT a decade ago, and his answer is rooted in his concerns for science education.

“I was spending a lot of time on the IIT campus in 1990-92 while teaching at the University of Chicago,” says Lederman, the Pritzker Professor of Science at IIT. “The Teachers Academy for Math and Science (TAMS) was headquartered at IIT. We were developing a program for teaching science and math to primary school teachers, and (IIT’s) near south side location was ideal for the disadvantaged schools in the Chicago Public School system. I was also increasingly drawn by what I saw as a strong interest by the university in the problems of the city. So I transferred to IIT in 1993.”

Lederman also points to the importance of Dan Kaplan joining the faculty and helping to create the Center for Accelerator and Particle Physics.

Lederman on the day of the announcement of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physics, which he shared with Mel Schwartz and Jack Steinberger. “That group has since demonstrated leadership in several Fermilab experiments,” Lederman says, “including E871 (CP Violation in Hyperon decay), BTeV and others, as well as leading a consortium of Illinois institutions in obtaining support from the state for assisting Fermilab in accelerator R&D.”

The Illinois Consortium for Accelerator Research (ICAR) was established through a $600,000 grant from the State of Illinois to IIT, as part of a $2.4 million Technology Challenge Grant program announced by Gov. George Ryan.

ICAR now includes five member universities: IIT, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The language of the grant outlined “a five-year program to participate in technical investigations and site-specific planning for future Fermilab projects.”

On the web:

Illinois Institute of Technology
Center for Accelerator and Particle Physics
Illinois Consortium for Accelerator Research

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