Historical Content Note: The following material is reprinted from publications from throughout Fermilab's history. It should be read in its original historical context.

Education Center Formally Opens Doors

Posters from Fermilab lectures

Robert Wilson, Stanka Jovanovic, John Peoples, Leon Lederman, Admiral Watkins and Marjorie Bardeen stand outside of the newly opened Leon M. Lederman Science Education Center. In his welcoming speech, John highlighted the events leading up to the completion of the center and cited the commitment of Fermilab and DOE to the realization of this goal.

A dedication ceremony held September 25 formally opened the doors of the Fermilab Science Education Center to the public. Named in honor of Fermilab's second director, Leon M. Lederman, the 8,200 square foot building houses the staff and facilities for Fermilab's education programs which yearly attract thousands of teachers and students from around the country.

Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins and his wife traveled to the Laboratory to take part in the opening ceremony along with Director John Peoples, Leon Lederman and Marjorie Bardeen, program manager of the Fermilab Education Office. Admiral Watkins noted that the Leon M. Lederman Science Education Center exemplifies the department's commitment to utilizing vast scientific resources to improve math and science education in the nation.

Important elements of the new center are a science laboratory which accommodates 60 students and a computer and technology classroom for 24 students. In addition, an array of interactive teaching stations, environmental field stations and audio-visual materials invite exploration and experimentation. The interactive displays focus on four areas particularly appropriate to the research conducted at Fermilab: accelerators, detectors, scattering experiments and the powers of ten, which presents the very large and the very small in nature.

The Fermilab Education Office currently offers a variety of institutes and workshops for teachers and research appointments for students and teachers from all over the United States. Local teachers bring their students to the Center for a variety of stimulating and innovative classes, for field experiences in the reconstructed prairie and for creative investigations in physics. The Teacher Resource Center, a clearing-house for ideas, material and resources, provides an educational hub that enriches the teaching of mathematics and science in the surrounding community.

The Lederman Science Center is open to the public Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Groups of more than five should call first for an appointment.

Fermilab's education initiatives are one element of DOE's nationwide strategy for improving mathematics and science education in America. In May 1990, Admiral Watkins issued a Secretarial Notice that vastly expanded the department's education mission. In 1991, more than one million students, teachers and parents participated in more than 800 DOE-funded education programs.

Education Center named for Leon

The Fermilab Science Education Center was officially christened on September 25 the Leon M. Lederman Science Education Center in honor of his contributions to precollege science education.

Leon has long recognized the importance of science education to the intellectual and economic health of society. In 1979, as director of Fermilab, Leon started Saturday Morning Physics for high school students, a program that continues to graduate 300 students annually. At the time, Fermilab funds could not be spent on precollege education programs, so Leon encouraged the establishment of Friends of Fermilab, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to supporting Fermilab precollege programs. Since its incorporation in 1983, Friends of Fermilab has raised over $2,600,000 from public and private sources including DOE, NSF, the state of Illinois and various private foundations. Today, Friends of Fermilab and Fermilab offer over 50 precollege programs that served 32,000 students and 11,000 teachers in FY92.

Another initiative that profited from Leon's involvement is the Teachers Academy for Mathematics and Science designed to support Chicago public school reform by enhancing teachers' abilities to teach mathematics and science. Leon led the drive to persuade several organizations to sponsor this ambitious effort.

As the Governor's Science Advisor, Leon helped shape the Science Literacy Grant Program of the Illinois State Board of Education. Ten million dollars is available annually for projects to enhance the teaching and learning of science and mathematics.

In addition to supporting these specific initiatives for precollege education, Leon has served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Continuing his work as a champion for enhanced science and math education, Leon recently joined the staff of the Illinois Institute of Technology where he will teach physics this fall. According to Lewis Collens, IIT president, Leon will work closely with IIT staff and board to "craft a new vision for urban science and technology education."

At the dedication ceremony, Leon spoke with characteristic humor. "I am awed by this honor, but I'm also frightened and nervous because I notice that those letters on that plaque are easily removable. Therefore, I am afraid I have to keep running and try to do whatever I can to help make this center something unique and special."