Nobel laureate who sold prize to fund medical bills dies at 96

Leon Lederman, PhD, who shared in the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physics, but was forced to sell the award almost 30 years later to fund his medical expenses, died Oct. 3. He was 96, according to PhysicsWorld.

Here are four things to know:

1. Dr. Lederman received his PhD in physics from New York City-based Columbia University in 1951 and remained at the institution until 1978, when he was named head of Fermilab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He remained at UIUC until his retirement in 1989.

2. Dr. Lederman made several significant contributions to the discipline throughout his career. He shared in the 1988 Nobel Prize with two other scientists for their discovery of multiple types of neutrinos. He was also known for his 1993 book The God Particle: If The Universe Is the Answer, What Is The Question? in which he attempted to rename the Higgs particle the "God particle."

3. In May 2015, Dr. Lederman sold his Nobel Prize gold medal at auction for $765,000 to pay for medical bills he incurred after being diagnosed with dementia.

4. In addition to his Nobel Prize, he was also the recipient of the 1965 National Medal of Science, the 1982 Wolf Prize in Physics and the 1992 Enrico Fermi Award, among others.

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