The 1988 Nobel prize winning physicist, who coined the phrase “God particle,” Leon Lederman, has decided to auction his medal with a reserve price of $325,000.
The 92-year-old retired scientist said that the prize “has been sitting on a shelf somewhere for the last 20 years.”
Lederman who lives in eastern Idaho explained his decision to sell one of the most coveted prizes in the world because, “It seems like a logical thing to do.”
Lederman had been awarded the Nobel prize for physics along with two other scientists for discovering in 1962 a sub-atomic particle called the muon neutrino or “God particle”. Later, this discovery led to a new field of quantum physics.
The medal’s auction is being conducted by Nate D Sanders and closes on Thursday evening. The final bid must remain unchallenged for half an hour.
This is the second time Nobel medals are being sold by living laureates.
Earlier this year, two Nobel prize medals were auctioned by the same house. One of them belonged to Simon Kuznets who had been recognised for his contribution in economics and Heinrich Wieland for his work in chemistry. These medals were sold by their heirs for almost $400,000.
“It’s really a wonderful thing, But it’s not really anything we need in our log cabin in Driggs, Idaho,” explained Lederman’s wife, Ellen.
“Leon has enjoyed owning the Nobel prize medal for many years, but feels it is time for someone else who shares his love for science to treasure his medal. He hopes this sale raises awareness of physics.”
The physicist worked at the particle accelerator at CERN near Geneva in the 1960s where the Higgs Boson was found in 2012. Lederman’s last job was as the director of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory from where he retired in June 2012 and moved to Idaho where he used the prize money to buy a log cabin as a vacation retreat.
This article originally appeared on The Guardian
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