Dr. Leon Lederman Is About to Become Your New Favorite Physicist

By Megan Garber

Confused about science? This Nobel winner would be happy to help you out.

Dr. Leon Lederman won the Noble Prize for Physics in 1988, for "the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino." Dr. Leon Lederman knows that you have very little sense of what the neutrino beam method actually involves. Dr. Leon Lederman further realizes that your comprehension of neutrinos themselves is scanty at best. But Dr. Leon Lederman would like to help you understand -- about neutrinos and leptons and atoms in general and physical space and time itself. 

So Dr. Leon Lederman set up shop on the sidewalks of New York City and Chicago, his Nobel-endorsed explanatory services advertised with a lemonade stand-like sign. And the people came to him. Not sure about the strong force? Just ask Dr. Lederman. Wondering how to change the trajectory of liquids? Dr. Lederman has you covered.

The video above would be reminiscent of Joshua Bell playing L'Enfant Plaza, a tense collision of the learned and the laity -- except that it is, as far as I can tell, entirely earnest. Playfully and charmingly earnest. This isn't a cynical social experiment; this is just a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, sitting on a sidewalk, doing a solid for Science.

Via Maggie Koerth-Baker/Boing Boing

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/dr-leon-lederman-is-about-to-become-your-new-favorite-physicist/259783/