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Department Of Education Announces New Member Of State Scholars Initiative Advisory Board


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Leon M. Lederman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1988, has joined the State Scholars Initiative Advisory Board, a panel that oversees a national business-education partnership designed to increase the number of students who take a rigorous high school curriculum.

The program, operated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education for the U.S. Department of Education, advocates the Scholars Core Course of Study, which includes four years of English, a minimum of three years of math and of science, 3 1/2 years of social studies and two years of a language other than English.

“We are excited and honored that Dr. Lederman has accepted an appointment to the State Scholars Initiative Advisory Board,” said Troy R. Justesen, assistant secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. “Dr. Lederman is an icon in the world of physics and we look forward to his counsel in developing the scholars initiative to help promote excellence in American education.”

Lederman is director emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Ill., where in 1979 he began supervising the construction and utilization of the first superconducting synchrotron, now the highest energy accelerator in the world.

During his academic career at Columbia University (1951-1979), Lederman had 50 Ph.D. students, 14 of whom became professors of physics, one a university president and others physicists at national labs, in government or industry. Some have used their physics skills on Wall Street and with the World Bank.

Lederman, 84, received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on neutrinos, elementary particles smaller than an atom.

Now living in Batavia, Ill., he has been increasingly involved in science education for gifted children, as well as enhancing public understanding of science. He founded in 1986 the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Ill., a three-year residence public school for gifted children in Illinois.

Under the State Scholars Initiative, each participating state—of which there are 22—receives up to $300,000 during a two-year period to implement scholars programs in at least four school districts.

Local business-education partnerships work with students in those districts, encouraging them to take a rigorous course of study—one that will give them a boost no matter whether they go to college or straight to work.

As part of the Scholars Core Course of Study, students are encouraged to take three years of math (algebra I and II and geometry) and three years of science (physics, chemistry and biology).

The 22 participating states include: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is responsible for providing technical assistance, monitoring, oversight, and cost reimbursement to the scholars projects in those states. Two additional states previously operated and completed scholars projects—New Mexico and Washington.

For more information on the State Scholars Initiative, visit the program’s Web site, which includes a brochure, fact sheet, newsletter, as well as links to state briefs and each of the participating states’ Web sites at



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