- Leon Lederman sold his Nobel Prize medal in an auction in 2015 for $765,000 to help pay medical bills.
- Lederman died at a nursing home in Idaho on Wednesday. He was 96.
- He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1988.
- His work was in subatomic particles. He notably discovered the Higgs boson, which he called the “God particle.”
Leon Lederman won a Nobel Prize for his work in physics. But in 2015, the University of Chicago professor was forced to auction off his medal for $765,000 to help cover medical bills.
Lederman, who died at 96 on Wednesday, was known for his work with subatomic particles.
He and two other scientists won the award in 1988 for the discovery of a subatomic particle called the muon neutrino. He is also known for discovering the Higgs boson particle, which he dubbed the “God particle.”
Lederman used his initial prize money to buy a log cabin in Idaho, according to the Associated Press. His wife, Ellen Carr Lederman, told the outlet that they moved into to the cabin permanently when Lederman began to experience severe memory loss in 2011. In order to pay for the care necessary to manage his dementia, Ledermann allowed an online auction company to sell his Nobel Prize medal, according to The New York Times.
Lederman died on Wednesday at the age of 96 in a nursing home in Idaho. As Vox reported, Medicare, which covers many Americans over the age of 65, does not always cover long-term stays in nursing homes. Vox noted that the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $7,698 a month.
“What he really loved was people, trying to educate them and help them understand what they were doing in science,” Ellen said of her husband.
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