In its early days, most of the lab's educational efforts took the form of programs like the Training and Technology Program, which ran from 1969 to 1974, and the Summer Program for Minority Students, which began in 1970. These efforts were intended to bring more underrepresented minorities into the field of high energy physics and focused on college-aged students. Leon Lederman, who became Fermilab's director in 1979, was passionate about science education, and under his leadership the lab expanded its efforts, especially among younger students.
In October 1980, the lab started the Saturday Morning Physics program, in which Fermilab physicists teach a series of courses on Saturday morning to talented students from local high schools. In 1982, Fermilab's Stanka Jovanovic and Marge Bardeen founded the Friends of Fermilab organization, which supports math and science education programs. This organization helped found IMSA, the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois on 1987.
In 1989, Fermilab established its Education Office, primarily to administer the new Lederman Science Center, which the lab created to provide math and science education programs to K-12 students and their teachers. The Lederman Science Center was dedicated on September 25, 1992.
Fermilab director Leon M. Lederman and physicist Drasko Jovanovic started the Saturday Morning Physics program in October, 1980. In this program, Fermilab physicists teach a series of courses on Saturday mornings to talented students from local high schools. Jovanovic directed the program until his retirement in 1997.
- Saturday Morning Physics
- Talented High School Students Learn About High Energy Physics at Fermilab — November 20, 1980
- Fermilab's Saturday Morning Physics Program Marks 25th Anniversary at Graduation Ceremonies — May 6, 2005
In 1982, Fermilab's Stanka Jovanovic and Marge Bardeen, along with other volunteers, founded the Friends of Fermilab organization, which supports the lab's precollege math and science education programs. Its first program was a summer institute for science teachers, and it soon sponsored a wide variety of programs. This organization helped found IMSA, the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois on 1987.
- Math-Science Academy for Illinois Near Approval — July 25, 1985
- FFLA: A History of Giving to Science Education — February 18, 1994
Fermilab's Lederman Science Education Center opened on September 25, 1992. Its name honors the many contributions Fermilab's second director, Leon M. Lederman, made to precollege science education.
- Fermilab to Break New Ground in Education — October 6, 1989
- Progress Continues on Education Center — September 6, 1991
- Education Center Formally Opens Doors — October 2, 1992